Laurel & Rebeccah Wassner

Professional Triathletes


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      MEET LAUREL                MEET BEC 

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2013 New York City Triathlon

Ok, so I have 15 minutes to write this race report before Amy wakes up from a nap. Yesterday was my 10th New York City Triathlon and while I wasn't able to reclaim my title, I exceeded all of my expectations for the day. My goals going into the race were:

-don't get hurt: meaning don't fall off your bike and don't push yourself to the point of injury on the run

-be competitive for as long as possible: In Philly I was competitive in the swim leg and for half of the bike. For NYC, I wanted to improve upon this

-enjoy being in the race and not on the sidelines

Here's how things played out on race-day:

It started with a 3:20 wake up by my natural alarm clock: a hungry Amy. She doesn't normally get up in the 3's, but she must have sensed that it was going to be a big day. So I quickly fed her and then fed myself (a bowl of oatmeal and coffee), pumped up my tires and was out on the Westside Highway at 4:10 am. Laurel and I were supposed to meet up around Canal Street, but we missed each other, so I ended riding in the dark up to 79th street, dodging rats and stumblers and getting a good cheer from the Christopher Street crowd. Other than that, the path is well lit and the ride was a good warm up. When I got up to the transition area, I found Laurel and we organized our stuff and then did the one mile walk up to the swim start. There, we met up with the guys from Digital Kitchen who were filming us for an upcoming (and very exciting) project. We had a few minutes to get in some swimming stretch cord warm ups and chat with our competitor/friends. There were two other moms in the field (Flo and Amy) who shared a few funny stories and mom tips with me. Then it was time to get the action started…

The Swim

The swim was fast. 11:57 for 1500m! I won it. And beat all the guys! This is not because I turned into a SaraMcLarty (aka super fast swimmer) overnight. It's because part of my preparation for this race was the 2 Bridges swim last month as well as the various Hudson River swims I've competed in. When we dove off the dock, I immediately found myself on the feet of Jenna Parker. A few minutes later, Laurel came by me and then the two of them swam away from me. I then realized that we needed to be in a different part of the river to make the most of the current, so I moved over and the next thing I knew, I was sailing by them. I went with it and was the first one to hit the exit ladder.

The Bike

This is a hilly bike course. It is all up or down, no flats. The course goes from Riverside Park, north on the Westside Highway to the Henry Hudson Parkway, crosses the bridge into the Bronx, then goes past Van Cortland Park to the Mosholu Parkway and back. Jenna and I started the ride at the same time. She got a little time on my during the more technical section as you exit the park, but after a few minutes I caught up to her. We rode either side by side, or very close to one another the entire way. I was paranoid the entire time that I was going to get a stagger penalty because we only had one lane to ride in. It was narrow and one side had gutters and the other had potholes. At times I had to sit up and drift way back to make it obvious to the circling referees that I didn't want to draft. Aside from that, I was really happy with the way I rode and felt great. I tried to make the most of the downhills so that I could cruise up the uphills. I rode almost the same split (1:07) the last time I raced in NYC, so that's an accomplishment. What I'm most excited about though is that I was able to do this on only my 3rd time on my time trial bike in months. I haven't been able to ride in the TT position because my core wasn't strong enough to support the position. But, just last Sunday, I tried it out for the first time and felt strong, so I decided to go with it for the race. I also tried a disk wheel for the first time. (provided by my generous bike sponsor - Cervelo - who not only provided me with a fast bike, but also very hard to come by 650 race wheels). I'm hooked on it and am looking forward to using it for other races this season.

The Run

After entering T2 in second place by just a few seconds, I had a slower transition to put socks on and then started the run. I tried to start off at a decent pace but after a few minutes, I realized that I wasn't running fast. I pushed and pushed and put one foot in front of the other, but my lack of running training revealed itself once again. After I race at the Philly Tri, I wanted to focus on running, but two days into that plan I strained a muscle in my hip. I had to back off for about a week and then gradually build into running easy again. Before the race, I got in two or three decent runs, maxing out at 5.5 miles and 7 minute pace. Running continues to be a struggle, with some new ache and pain in the hip or back area after every run. This is, by far, the hardest part about getting back to being race ready and is just one of those things that takes time. Too bad 5.5 months after having Amy hasn't been long enough--I was holding onto 3rd place until the last half mile of the race. I had built enough of a lead on the swim and the bike that even though I was barely moving on the run, I was still in podium position. But when I got passed, I had nothing left and was just focused on getting to the finish line. That right turn from the park loop to the roundabout and then to the finish-line seemed like it took an eternity (it's probably only about 400m).

The Finish

When I got into the finish chute, I was in 4th place, well behind Jenna P., who had a great run and ended up winning. SJ met me with Amy and we jogged, then walked across the line. At first I was worried that if I walked 100m or so I would get passed again, but jogging with Amy made me feel like I was stealing her. We have to choreograph this better next time! Shortly after crossing the line, I checked myself into the medical tent because I knew I wasn't in very good shape. The staff were very helpful and cooled me off with ice packs and cold water. Amy was in there with me, but I had to hand her off because I was worried about dropping her! After a few minutes, I recovered and went back out to join the finish line party. Amy and I got interviewed for the evening news and then we met up with our HUGE cheering section. See the photo below! It was so fun to see everyone and introduce Amy to fans, spectators and other athletes.

It is always so inspiring to see so many people complete this grueling race. Laurel and I had a great time cheering for people running across 72nd street on our way back to pick up our bikes. As always, the New York City Triathlon was an amazing day and I'm already looking forward to next year's race.

Up next for me is Rev3 Wisconsin in mid-August. My mom (who has assumed the role of chief advisor/coach) will not allow me to race again until I get in better running shape. So back to training it is.

So that's my story. Feel free to share yours with us in the comment area below!



Road Food: DIY Instant Oat Mix: Hemp Seed and Blueberry

As I prepped for last month’s Philadelphia Triathlon, my first triathlon in over a year, I fretted about what to put in my transition bag, whether my wetsuit would still fit, and what to eat for breakfast in the hotel room.

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ZICO-NYC Triathlon Google+ Hangout 

All of your New York City Triathlon questions answered! Today 6pm EST we'll be live streaming from the Google offices in NYC and LA, talking all things triathlon. To join in, RSVP to the Google+ Hangout and you will be sent a reminder and details. Also, check out ZICO's Facebook page for more information and send any questions you'd like answered to ZICO's twitter

If you aren't familiar with Google+ Hangouts (which we weren't until last Friday!), it's like face timing or skyping 6 of your friends at once. You can watch live or check out the Hangout later, once it's posted to ZICO's you tube page



Athlete Food: Maple Curry Salad Dressing


In the summertime, eating a salad before dinner is a necessity. First of all, it’s just too hot to stand over a stove, even to sauté a pan of zucchini. Secondly, we get so much lettuce and kale from our weekly CSA that we have to keep eating salad just to make room in our refrigerator for milk.

The only way I can get away with serving my husband salad every night, is to change up the dressings. Lately, I’ve been making my mother-in-law, Frances’, signature curry salad dressing. When she moved from her home of 50 years to a condo this spring, she generously passed her old kitchen gear, including her recipe box, to me. In the box I found the handwritten card for this tangy dressing.

The original recipe came from one of her old neighbors in Toronto's Humber Valley Village neighborhood. I adapted the recipe slightly, adding turmeric and swapping in maple syrup for white sugar. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties—something athletes can always use—and maple syrup adds flavor, not just sweetness to the dressing

Frances always has a jar of this salad dressing in her refrigerator. She serves it on a simple green salad, usually just lettuce portioned in individual salad bowls, with dinner. Every time I eat at Frances’ table I promise myself I’ll keep a jar of this salad dressing in the fridge. I imagine myself dipping string beans and small tomatoes in it as a light midday snack. It’s too tasty to reserve for just dinner. —Bec

Maple Curry Salad Dressing

Makes about 1/3 cup

3 tablespoons sunflower oil (or another mild oil, other than olive oil)

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (preferably with seeds)

1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup (like Crown Maple Syrup)

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon coriander

Put all ingredients except oil in a jar and give it a few firm shakes. Add the oil and shake some more. 


Purely Summer 

Every now and then I come across a magazine that I feel like I could move right into. Sweet Paul, Anna Magazine...and now there's Purely Summer from the talented and creative ladies behind purely elizabeth foods. Click on the above photo to read the magazine and prepare to get sucked in by exercise and beauty tips, recipes and lots and lots of pretty pictures.


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Amy at 5 Months


We've spent a good part of the last year trying to figure out when things were going to happen. It started with, when am I going to tell people about the baby? (not until the very last second). Then it was when am I going to start showing? (at about 5 months) and when am I going to have to stop running? (at about 20 weeks). Next, when is the baby going to come? (not until her due date, and even then she had to be forcibly removed), when is Amy going to start really smiling? (at about 2 months), and when is she going to sleep through the night (never??). Another question we can check off the list is when is she going to start sitting up? 5 months, which according to is just about average. So, experienced parents, what can we expect next??? 


4th at Philly Tri, 4th at 5i50 St. Louis

I'm just getting home after a long trip to 3 different cities where I raced, moved, and raced again.  It was a long 7 days, but I came away with two 4th place finishes, earned some points for Hy-Vee, got to spend some quality time with my mom and dad and sisters and got to watch Amy's first swimming lesson!

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Happy Trails

If there's anything I've learned from getting back to running shape after having a baby, it's the art of embracing change. Whether it's accepting the fact that my body is different, or that my "routine" is allover the map, or that I've lost anything remotely resembling speed, things shift both mentally and physically post-baby.

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