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Five a.m. wakeup calls are the norm for 28-year-old Pam Sinel of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The amateur triathlete is training for an upcoming Ironman, an event in which she'll swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full (26.2-mile) marathon -- all (she hopes) in less than her goal time of 14 hours. An occupational therapist with a busy social life, Pam has to rise early to squeeze the first of two workouts into her jam-packed day. So how does this single girl avoid hitting snooze every time her alarm goes off? "I don't!" she confesses. "No matter how little time I have in the morning, I always press it once."
Favorite workout tool: "I use a Web-based workout tracker called workoutlog.com to record my runs and cycling routes. I keep track of what I eat before, during, and after exercising. Saving that information helps me see patterns in my workouts and stamina."
Endurance eating: "While I'm cycling, I stash snacks like Clif bars in my bento box (a case that sits behind the bike's handlebars; $15.99 at insideoutsports.com). If I'm switching from running to cycling, I eat gels (such as Clif Shot Energy Gels; $7 for 6-pack at EMS.com), because I know my body can more easily digest liquid nutrition."
Getting her sugar fix: "I always eat something sweet on a daily basis, like dark chocolate. After a long ride, I'll reward myself with a piece of cake that I keep in the freezer."
Balancing her social life: "I have to make compromises, like driving my own car when I go out so I can leave when I want, or passing on weekend brunches with friends."
Wonders if... "I might be missing the chance to meet a guy because of my fitness regimen. But then I remember that these are my goals and this is my time to do it. I'll meet a guy when the time is right."
Stay-with-it secret: "Having exercise partners. I know I won't skip my workout when I'm meeting up with a friend."
Tried-and-true advice: "Set a measurable goal. If you are hoping to simply get fit, it might be hard to determine success. But signing up for an event such as a race or ride and then completing it is something you can feel great about. The mental image of crossing the finish line is a great motivator."
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, June 2007.