a Bri Gaal's Blog: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bike Fit

The other day I got fit on my bike for the first time. I know this is bad – you should get fit on your bike as soon as possible after buying it, but for some reason I never got around to it. Marty is pretty good at eyeballing the fit and he seemed to think mine was pretty good. Not that I didn’t believe him, but I wanted the whole shebang – the plum drop swinging from my knee, the protractor ruler thing measuring the angles, my q-factor…you know everything that I know nothing about. Plus, I had just put a new seat on my bike and wanted to make sure everything was good. I broke down and got the funny looking adamo and it seems to have a lot of hope. I’m giving it a good trial period but so far I think it may turn out to be the best one yet. I did have to zip tie the nose a bit since it was pretty wide, and I have since learned that this little technique has been common in a lot of women who use this saddle.

So, back to the bike fit. I was getting all star service and Mike Beaman himself was on hand to do all the fancy things. And as it turned out, my fit was really good from the beginning (hrmph, Marty IS good). He ended up dropping me down two spacers though, which seems like an awful lot and I think I may put one back in there for a bit until I get used to it. I have a longer than normal torso and getting aero is more difficult than on most people (and also causes a lot of my shirts to become belly shirts when they shouldn't be). He even said that my cleat placement was spot on which is so dumb luck. Whenever my cleats wear out I just put the new ones on where I think they should be and screw them down. Do people really measure this stuff every time?

I asked him if now I’ll have all sorts of crazy power, but he just laughed and said probably not since he didn’t really have to change much. Dang it :)

Tomorrow we’re heading into Asheville since we’re racing Lake Logan on Saturday morning. You don’t have to worry about Marty skipping this one. I’m looking forward to the race and feel like I’m in better shape than I was at the Triangle Triathlon. My training the past couple of weeks has been going well, but I do wish I had another few weeks under me. I’m not so sure how my endurance will hold out over an Olympic distance race, but I’m going to do my best. I’m also looking forward to meeting blogging buddy Ashley Long – isn’t it fun to go to races and finally meet people you feel like you’ve known for months?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pictures from Grandfather Mountain

It was really windy on the swing bridge.

Marty hanging off the edge of the mountain.

Contemplating the view

It was a bit hazy, but we still got lucky with a nice day.

Feeding time at the zoo

Here's a short video of me feeding the bears - it was pretty neat

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Relaxing Weekend? Not Quite

It's tough to get caught up on life when you're gone several weekends in a row, but that's summer time, right?! It should come as no surprise to anyone that Marty skipped the Mission Man sprint triathlon on Saturday. This actually worked out better for me because I was able to get in a good bike workout . I made Marty go with me and he grumbled during the intervals but got his butt moving, which he needs ;) Then we packed up the car and Tassie and drove to Sugar Mountain, which was about 3.5hrs away. We had a nice time visiting my mom and had a great dinner with her and Dan. This morning Marty, Tassie and I went for a very hilly albeit short run. I guess when you're staying in the mountains you're either going to go up or down.

We showered and got my mom and then we all headed over to Grandfather Mountain where we had some pretty great views on the mile high swinging bridge. I'll put up some pictures later and also a video of me tossing some food to the bears that they have there. We took Marty into Boone for lunch since he's never been there before we packed up and drove back home. Now we're meeting Paul out for some dinner - no rest for the weary!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sugar Mountain

We’re on the move again this weekend, this time to visit my mom who has been vacationing at Sugar Mountain. We joke that she is more excited to see Tassie than Marty or I. It’s only kind of a joke! Saturday we’ll get up bright and early and head to Burlington where Marty will be racing in the Mission Man sprint triathlon which is part of the TrySports series we sponsor (edit, Vegas has 50-50 odds that Marty will get up and race this tomorrow morning). I’m opting out and hoping to get some riding in right when we get there. Then Tassie and I will be cheering everyone on during the race. Afterwards we’ll continue our drive to the mountains. We’ll be back Sunday night, just in time to hang out with Paul Power, who has attended a couple of our camps over the years. Paul lives in Long Island and does not lack in the humor department. Here's an excerpt from his IM Lake Placid race report:

The bike, not to sound like an idiot, but took it super easy on the first loop and was psyched about my time started the second loop and knew I could either negative split or do the same time at least. Hit the 100 mile mark at right around 6 hours so knew I was on track for a 6:40 or so, so was happy as can be and feeling great. Then around mile 102 or so not really sure but it was on the road going up Whiteface my little handy man special pedal snapped off the bike. Dumped me down got a little cut up. Felt bad for the guy that passed me and blew out his tire on my sheared bolts. OOPS. Knew I had plenty of time to finish and was not going to let that ruin my day, put the pedal in my pocket and pretended I was on the trainer doing one legged drill up the mountain. Here we go! Was able to make it pretty much to the top of each hill had to walk a couple of times over the crests. Went about 4 miles or so to the aid station to see if they had tools almost was able to take a c-clamp and make a pedal but no luck. They called the bike support team but I decided to forge on. The guy was like you should wait. I told him to have them look for me on the course. He said how will they find you? I said look for the FAT GUY in a blue shirt pedaling with one leg! Well they came and fixed me up just in time for the last two hills which I had no idea where Papa and Mama bear (which were not that bad). And cruised into the transition and hour past my scheduled arrival time. Oh well, still knew I was going to finish.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tassie!

Today is Tassie's birthday - she's two! Here is a glimpse of morning madness when she see's something out back she wants to chase. Her instincts are there...they're just not very good.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Feeling Stronger

Training has been getting better. This morning at Master's practice we did 300's alternating hard/easy. To keep from daydreaming I tried to keep an eye on the next lane and keep up with whoever started when I did. When they pulled away (it was the faster lane after all) I tried to keep up with the next person. It helped me push harder and I swam pretty good in that dang long course pool.

Then tonight Marty and I waited until much later than normal to do our run since it was ungodly hot out today. We ran from our house and hit the trails at Bond Park instead of driving out to Umstead. I convinced him to do some tempo with me and we both ran well and felt good. Or did we run good and feel well? I always get those confused. You get the picture.

So I feel like I'm making some improvement and think that maybe I can still pull off some good races over the next few months.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back from OBX

OBX, in case you didn't know, is the Outer Banks. It's very 'in' to have OBX stickers on your car, or even as part of your license plate. We saw dozens of these vanity license plates out there. Anyways, it was great to see April and Lou and Louie. I wish they were closer and hope that we don't have that same span of time in between the next time we see them.

The Outer Banks is a nice place - seems laid back but with enough to do to keep you interested. The drive over and back really wasn't all that bad. Training for tri's could be an issue, as there aren't a whole lot of roads to ride on (and the ones they do have are filled with SUV's carrying everything but the kitchen sink of families who ARE ON VACATION SO GET OUT OF MY WAY!) I'm sure we'll go back at some point, though. Marty picked up a surfboard in Corolla and is now trying to convince me how good it will look in our kitchen. So far, I'm not convinced.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Heart Running

I was a kid in the candy store today because I was going running at Umstead after work! Now that my foot held up through the race this weekend I really feel like I have the ‘all clear’ to start RUNNING again. No more of these baby 25 minute jogs, I’m ready for tempo and fartleks and long runs! I also feel like I may have transitioned from that first-3-week-back-of-running-hell and have now moved on to feeling little parts of my former self. This is good because Marty and I are going to do a lovely Olympic distance race in early August, so I really need to run more than 4 miles. I do mean lovely – at least that’s what everyone says about Lake Logan.

But this weekend we’re headed out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to visit Lou and April Snelling (cross country/track teammates from UCF) and their baby Louie (he’s the sixth, talk about pressure for April!) Anyways, we are heading to Duck. Yah, that’s the name of it. I’ve discovered that the Outer Banks has a lot of funny sounding towns – Kill Devil Hills, Oracoke, Duck, Corolla (pronounce Ka-RAWL-a, not like the car). Here’s a map with a nice little arrow pointing towards where we’re heading. I don’t know why Cary didn’t make it on this map, but we’re to the left of Raleigh, so we have quite a drive tomorrow.

In other news, one of my other best friends from college (Anne) had her second baby this morning – Quinn Marie. Her and her husband are in New Orleans finishing up their medical residencies. Marty and I have a lot of catching up to do with my friends in the baby department…

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Few Pics from Triangle

The Gaal's in transition. I have the team bike jersey on and Marty is wearing the team race top, lest anyone get confused and think we are wearing each other's clothes (ahem, Heather).

Me and Laurie before the start. Yummm, Lake Crabtree...

Marty running out of the water in first place

Me running out of the water not in first place

Me on the run

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Triangle Triathlon Recap

Gee thanks, Marty. The Bri of only a few months ago would have beaten you by minutes today.

ANYWAYS, the race was fun!! I had no expectations and my only goal was to not be the last elite (and hopefully still come in ahead of all the age groupers but I don't know if I did that yet). I think I had a pretty good swim for myself - went off course quite a bit but tried to pull hard. Everyone thinks it was longer than last year so I'm expecting that split to be slower. It's funny because in most of these North Carolina races I feel like such a horribly slow swimmer, but then when I go out of state I realize that I'm not that bad. We just have some very quick fishies here (and quick triathletes, frankly!).

Onto the bike where I was quite the little wimp and didn't have a whole lot of power. Time to bike more than twice a week I suppose! I was a little annoyed on the bike because I had one squirrely girl around me for most of the ride. I was told she drafted off me for a bit, then I saw her go into the other lane several times, and one time she tried to pass in the middle of me and another guy while I was passing him! She was strong but I don't think she knew any of the rules. I watched my teammates gain lots of time on me at all the turnarounds :(

Then the run -- it was good! I felt good, very relaxed and was so happy to be out there. I cheered for everyone and said hi to people on the sidelines who were cheering for me (nice to meet you Rebecca! I tried to find you after but didn't see you!). For some perspective, though, last year I ran 18:29 here. Today I ran more like a 20:20. I actually am very happy with that time even though it was almost 2 minutes slower - I promise I have not done one single workout since St. Anthony's and have just done a handful of 15-20-30min runs. I can't wait to start actually training again on the run and think I'm ready now.

So I may have been around 7th overall or so, my lowest placing up here but I had a GREAT time! It was fun seeing everyone and being able to ride our bikes to the course and participate! We had a team cookout at Alysia's in the afternoon and before that Laurie and Eric came over and hung out with me watching Ninja Warrior - love that show :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008


That's Tassie and I cuddling on the stairs the other night. Marty took that picture with his phone.

We had fun last night with my sister and her boyfriend out at dinner and then later at the Flying Saucer (of course!). Even though Shana lives in Raleigh, we sometimes go weeks without seeing each other because of schedules and being out of town.

Today I have quite a bit on tap - mostly stuff that just needs to be taken care: cleaning, folding, writing some schedules, reading some stuff - for the most part I want to stay relaxed because I am going to need every ounce of energy for the race tomorrow! Normally I wouldn't care so much about this for a sprint, but it all depends on what type of shape you're in. I'm looking forward to being out there and competing but most importantly, HAVING FUN! That's why I do these things!
Couple pics from last night at the Flying Saucer, courtesy of Shana's phone :)
Shana and Scott bought me this cute t-shirt from there (oops, forgot to take off my dorky glasses...)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Status Quo

Nothing too interesting to report. Marty and Tassie had an exciting afternoon, but I'll let him tell you about it. I'm still plugging away at my training hoping everyday that this will be the day that I feel strong and fast again. If only it were that easy (they would call it football, ha ha). As I was walking back to my building after running on the treadmill at work, I called Marty to report in. He asked how my foot was and I told him it was good, it didn't hurt at all...everything else hurt!

And that's about it. We have several busy weekends coming up starting off with this weekend at the local Triangle Triathlon. The following weekend we're heading to the Outer Banks to see my friend April (and her husband and new baby); they're vacationing there for the week. You might remember she was one of my '6 people I want to have lunch with tomorrow.' So maybe not tomorrow, but next weekend! Not bad! Marty and I are bagging the NYC triathlon since we are both in piss poor shape and don't think that making that long of a drive would be all that fun for us right now. We're going to look into deferring to next year.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Late 4th of July

In an attempt to get back in shape, I decided that I will train this week. Novel concept! Except it has left me sore and tired ;) Wednesday morning started off with a hard swim practice, where the guy who goes behind me in the lane was feeling extra spunky. Good for him, and me, except I had to hurt more than I was planning on. But what's the point on going to Master's if you're expecting to just swim 'comfortable'? Parrish kept me very honest and we did our last few hundreds pretty fast (after many other fast and hypoxic intervals). At the end I had that entire body hurt feeling, even deep into my legs. But that was not going to cause me to skip the group ride that night.

The ride was still fun, even though I got dropped a few times. That'll happen when people are sprinting uphill and your legs are pooled with lactic acid. Brooke and Nicolai are in great shape, and I'm hoping they drag me back into some sort of shape here soon. Last weekend they rode in a popular 100 miler in the mountains in 6 hours - with a few stops!

Thursday evening I went out for my 30min run, when it was WAY too hot and I melted. I felt like I was 200 lbs and barely moving. I then had to lay on the living room floor for 15 minutes before I could move again (Tassie tried to help out by licking the salt off me). I know that the first few weeks of running again are miserable, but you always forget just how miserable they are until you're back there doing it (in 95 degree heat). Still happy to be out there for sure!

And yesterday I had the day off work, yay! Marty and I went for a swim in the morning and then a short bike ride. That night we met some friends out in Cary to watch the fireworks but 15 minutes before the show a storm rolled in and the masses hightailed it out of there as big lightening bolts lit up the sky (Mother Nature wanted to display her own fireworks, I suppose). We all scattered amidst a lot of, "let's do this again sometime!"

Now I'm going to go for another run, and I'm hoping it feels better than Thursday's. I better get going before it gets too hot out.

I feel like I haven't put any Tassie pictures up in awhile, so here's one of her the other day after an intense round of fetch.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Wanna Play!

If you're reading this and have a blog, then you have to play, too!

10 years ago I was:
Living at home in St. Petersburg, Fl; the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I went to Auburn University for my freshman year on a cross country/track scholarship, but the combination of coaching changes, a shy girl, and teammates transferring, I decided to transfer to the University of Central Florida. I was also realizing that my current boyfriend of almost 2 years was not someone I wanted to be with anymore, and was trying to figure out how to let him know.

5 years ago I was:
Living in Orlando, engaged to Marty, working full time at Lockheed Martin and starting my last year of the MBA program at UCF. I was running, biking and swimming, but was not a very strong triathlete at this point. I did well in the local races and was having a lot of fun with the track club we were a part of.

1 year ago I was:
In a horrible contract job here in Raleigh, desperately trying to find a different company. I was in a bit of a slump in the triathlon season but still had the best all around seasons that I’ve ever had.

5 things on my to do list today:
(Seeing as I’m almost done with the day)
1. Eat dinner
2. Take a shower
3. Watch the swimming Olympic trials
4. Cuddle with tassie
5. Go to bed

5 snacks I enjoy:
1. Cheese
2. Peanut butter
3. Most fruits
4. Cheddar Kettle chips
5. Ice cream

If I were a billionaire I would:
Quit my job, by a house on the beach and mountains, travel (all with Marty of course!). I’d also give a lot of it to my family and charities. Who really needs a billion dollars?

6 people I want to have lunch with tomorrow:
1. Grandma Coppola (passed away in Mar of 06)
2. Pete Maravich (great basketball, player died in his 40’s)
3. John & Bronwyn Bates (Aussie friends)
4. Anne, April, Gemma & Stephanie (UCF cross country friends I never see)
5. My mom and dad
6. I always want to have lunch with Marty

5 places I have lived:
1. St. Petersburg, FL
2. Orlando, FL
3. Auburn, AL
4. Collaroy, NSW Australia
5. Cary, NC

5 jobs I have had:
1. Accounting intern
2. Football ticket office (at UCF, 5 year scholarship athlete with no eligibility and they put you to work for 10hrs a week)
3. Inside-Out Sports retail person
4. Financial Analyst
5. World traveler :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shock Jock

The title is in reference to Howard Stern, who I will once again be listening to on my commute to work - it's kind of like one of those confessions, but I really like the Howard Stern Show. Not every part of it, but for the most part he has very interesting interviews, great political takes, and funny commentary. I've been without Sirius satellite for almost a month now since we bought our new car (stupid Honda only comes with XM - boooo!). Since we were already subscribers, Sirius sent us a new radio and a free install card and Marty had it all taken care of this morning. No more bad local radio for this girl.

This morning I got up and went for a short mountain bike on the greenways - and can I tell you that I was cold at the beginning?! That's right, low humidity and temps this morning in the low 60's had me shivering as I went down the first hill. It was awesome :) Then tonight I ran for...wait for it...30 minutes! And it felt great. It was slow, yes, but I don't care - it was so fun to be out there, and I even made it to the nearby trails which was a treat. I do love running. Now I probably won't be saying that next weekend when I'm racing (i.e. participating) in the Triangle Triathlon; that's sure to be a hurtfest for me, but I really want to get back out there. Now I need to go shower and get ready to watch some more swimming Olympic trials.