Pam Sinel, Occupational Therapist (and Self-Professed Snoozer)
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Pam Sinel, Occupational Therapist (and Self-Professed Snoozer)

She works full-time and enjoys the single-girl social life, all while packing in hardcore triathlon training sessions. Superhuman overachiever? Not exactly. This Ironwoman hits the snooze button like the rest of us.

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 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 If I'm switching from running to cycling, I eat gels (such as Clif Shot Energy Gels; $7 for 6-pack at, 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, June 2007.