My New Nickname

So what’s in a name?  Or better yet, what’s in a nickname?  My first few stemmed from my actual name—my family and close friends commonly call me Care and Carebear—but it wasn’t until 8th grade basketball that I received my first true nickname:  Red. (You know, because of my curly red hair.)



Ah, the sweet glory days of 2008.  Just winning a sectional championship.  All in a day’s season’s work.

It stuck, and during the next four years of field-hockey, basketball, softball, and track, I was known as Red.  I liked having an athletic alter ego:  I could be Carrie in the classroom and Red on the court. (Except in my economics class senior year—my basketball coach was the teacher, so I was Red.) Sadly, the nickname didn’t carry over from high school to college, so I’ve been nickname-less for a while.

Until this morning.

Workout #1 – Biking

Recovery week continued with an indoor cycling workout alongside my Full Throttle Endurance teammates.  But you want to hear the nickname story, right?  Here it goes:  Remember how I bought a new heart rate monitor last week?  Before starting practice, Andrew synced it with the Suunto training system, and in addition to sections for standard information (age, height, etc.), there was an area to input for a nickname.  Here’s how our exchange went down:

Andrew:  “Nickname?”

Me:  “Carrie is fine.”

A:  “No, it’s not.”

[Pauses, then begins typing.]


You can now call me Young C—because I’m the youngest member on the team.  Ha!

Oh, and the ride went great.  Seeing my heart rate and zone level let me know if I should increase, maintain, or decrease effort (or gear or cadence).  Now that I can see these values during workouts, I need to teach my body how to recovery quickly.  For example, we did some high-cadence drills (110 RMP for one minute), followed by steady efforts (90-95RMP for three minutes), and a few of my teammates were able to drop from the yellow zone to the blue zone in three minutes. (The Suunto training system has green, blue, yellow, orange, and red zones that show riders how close they are to maximum heart rate.)

Workout #2 – Running

After biking, I quickly laced up my sneakers and hit the indoor track.  This was my first true bike-run brick since the summer, so I had no idea how it would go—and I survived!  During past bricks, my entire lower body would immediately feel like stressed—or maybe distressed?—jello (triathletes, you know the sensation), but today, everything held up OK.  I did experience some calf cramps, but nothing too painful.

Breakfast #1

Before heading to a work fitness event, I inhaled a banana and vanilla Chobani yogurt.


Plus my second cup of coffee!

Breakfast #2

Around 9:30 a.m., I found myself in the Union Square area, so I stopped at Whole Foods for a hot-bar breakfast.


Egg whites, huevos rancheros, and turkey bacon.  So random, but so good.  And since I was conveniently in the heart of the Union Square Greenmarket, I picked up some apples—and a sweet treat.


Give me carbs!


This pear muffin was absolutely delicious.

Did you have a nickname growing up?  How about for sports?  If you could give yourself a nickname, what would it be?

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I hope your week is off to a great start!  As promised, I have a recipe to share with you today—spicy black bean quinoa.


There’s so much to love about this recipe:  it’s healthy, nutritious, delicious, and above all, easy to prepare.  It’s a no-fuss dish that calls for less than 30 minutes in the kitchen, yet lasts the entire week.


As you can tell from the Tupperware, I’ve gotten in the habit of preparing a batch every Sunday to have on hand for weekday lunches.


Here’s a tip:  Wilt spinach in the microwave for 30 seconds and then layer the quinoa on top.  More veggies for the win!


Spicy Black Bean Quinoa

Inspired by Anne P.’s Vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad


1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup water

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red pepper, chopped

1 orange pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 cup salsa

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Tabasco

pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1 ripe avocado (optional)


1.  Combine quinoa, water, and vegetable broth in a pot.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 to 12 minutes (until all liquid is absorbed).

2.  Let quinoa cool, then combine in a large bowl with other ingredients.

3.  Cut avocado and top portion with a few slices.

Happy 200th Anniversary, ‘Pride and Prejudice!’

Good morning, friends!  I hope you enjoyed the weekend!  Alas, it’s moan Monday, but here’s some good news:  today marks the marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.



What—you don’t know the anniversary of one of your favorite books?

Yes, I’ve read this novel more times than I can count, and this book seems to get better and better each time.  Even though I liked Pride and Prejudice when I finished it for the first time in middle school, I definitely grew to appreciate it after each subsequent reading; there’s no better way to start high school Christmas break or college winter break than paging through a favorite book.

Even though the story takes place in the 19th century, Austen’s text defines timelessness.  Elizabeth Bennet is one of my favorite literary heroines, and I relate to her on so many levels.  Pride and Prejudice contains so many timeless characters—I know people who so closely resemble Mary Bennet and Charlotte Lucas it’s scary—and fortunately or unfortunately, there was a George Wickham-esque character during my high school days. (Interestingly, it took me a while to make the connection—I felt like I knew him from somewhere, yet couldn’t put my finger on it—so I didn’t make the Wickham distinction right away.  However, this dude eventually proved to be a 21st century, high school version of this character.) So, even though Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice two centuries ago, the characters she crafted proved to be universal, timeless, and totally spot-on—you go, Jane!


Just a Jane Austen doll at The Strand.  Totally normal, right?

Anyway, I have no probably admitting that I’m a Janeite“the self-consciously idolatrous enthusiasm for ‘Jane’ and every detail relative to her”—so it should come as no surprise that after my high school graduation, my parents and I traveled to London, and we also visited Bath for a few days, mainly to visit the Jane Austen Centre.


2008 throwback.



My mom and I were in heaven, and my dad was such a trooper!  Although he did “read” Northanger Abbey—at least every other page.

In college, I even took a class titled “Jane Austen in Film.” (Liberal arts institution for the win!) We read a bunch of her books—including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park—and then watched and analyzed their film adaptations.  Oh, and we also took a country ball dancing class.



Dancing might not seem challenging, but I was a hot, sweaty, and confused mess by the end!  During Austen’s days, dancing and attending balls allowed young people to interact with each other—away from the watchful eyes chaperones.  Plus, an individual’s proficiency on the dance floor was thought to be directly related to how good of a spouse they would be. (Remember how Mr. Collins royally messes up and proves to be an embarrassment?) After taking this class, I couldn’t imagine looking presentable (aka not sweaty), dancing gracefully, and engaging in witty banter.  Talk about pressure!  Although I would solider through the above if I got to wear one of those gorgeous dresses.



And speaking of dancing, the Netherfield Ball is set to take place this spring.  Anyone want to go?

Of course, going to a ball brings up the dividing question among Pride and Prejudice fans:  Who’s your Mr. Darcy—Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen?



Have you read any of Jane Austen’s classics?  Which novel is your favorite?  Who’s your favorite literary heroine?