a Bri Gaal's Blog: August 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Busy Bee

It's been a very busy weekend and I'm SO glad I have the day off tomorrow! Yay to celebrating labor :) Friday night Marty and I hosted a Master's swim team happy hour at our house, which I have to say was quite a success. You just never know when you announce something like that who is actually going to show up. We had most of the master's swimmers over here downing beers and having fun. Happy hour soon turned into a night party but everyone was out around 10:45pm, which was a good thing because Marty and I were up early the next morning to run a swim clinic at TAC.

The swim clinic was great, and tiring! I didn't manage to get in any training except for the few hundreds yards of drill demonstrations. By the time we got home Marty and I were both very tired, but we rallied for a fun dinner out with friends. Off to bed and up early again for a broken brick this morning.

It was hot! We've really been enjoying a mild summer here in NC, but this weekend's temperatures crept up and we were all big sweaty messes quickly into this workout. Everyone stayed tough, did great and went fast. Suffice it to say, I don't have much a chance at all of beating Marty at the Sandman triathlon in two weeks. This guy decides to workout for a couple of weeks and leaps over fitness levels like it's not hard at all. Hrmph.

I was feeling quite tired and worn out - not my best workout this morning, but still stayed on pace and finished strong. I know you can't feel good all the time and the key here is to not let it get to you and keep pushing with whatever effort you can muster. I felt MUCH better after some chocolate chip/peanut butter chip pancakes, bacon and sausage.

Did I mention I'm so happy I have the day off of work tomorrow?! Sa-Weet!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Typical Night at the Gaal's

Marty created a bad habit for Tassie when she was a puppy - he would give her the last few drops of beer out of his bottle. This is now the only thing she 'begs' for. So here it is, 8:45 on a Tuesday night, Marty is letting Tassie drink from his bottle (it looks MUCH worse than it is), while holding her paw and massaging her toes (she has a foot fetish, what can I say?). He's in his Superman pants and slippers. And yes, that's my bike set up on the trainer in the background because I did a short easy spin after my run workout today.

Marty actually has a matching Superman t-shirt, but unfortunately he wasn't wearing it tonight. Not too long ago he was wearing the complete outfit one morning when it was trash pickup day. He realized we had forgotten to put our recycling out when he saw the truck pull up, so he raced out the door, grabbed our bin and ran it down to the recycling worker. He said he kind of got a funny look and realized walking back up to the house what he had been wearing. I'm sure they think that someone very "special" lives in our house.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hello, Dum-Dum

Marty, Tassie and I had a great time out at the Hillsborough Sportsplex sprint triathlon this morning. They were great cheerleaders for me as I fumbled my way through an overall win.

The race was a 400 yard pool swim, 11.6 mile rolling bike, and a short 5K run with some hills (I'm thinking 30-40 seconds short). I have done a few pool swims and I just don't like them. I have not mastered the art of warming up followed by sitting around for 20 minutes and then pushing off the wall in all out sprint. Open water is different to me for some reason. And then you have all the logistics of flip turning under lane lines, passing people who put in bad swim times and getting passed by people behind you who are faster. Ugh. I wore my Blue Seventy Point Zero over my race outfit since my outfit is too big and draggy. My friends teased me but I figured I had the thing so why not wear it? This is why: because when you forget you've only taken it halfway off and proceed to run your bike out of transition with it dangling around your waist. Yup, that's what I did. Back up - of course the mat for the swim is a little ways away from the pool deck so my swim time looks nice and slow - 6:05, but it was 3rd and the other two girls who swam faster were definitely swimmers. Then I run out of transition and over that mat before I realize I hadn't fully undressed. I stop and lay my bike down, take my shoes off, remove the speedskin, put my shoes back on - at this point Marty runs over with Tassie and says, "Oh you silly girl." Tassie proceeds to lick my legs. Marty said it probably added 40 seconds to my bike split and is SO MAD he didn't get it all on video.

The bike was rolling the whole way, no chance to really tuck in and hammer. I felt okay, nothing great, nothing terrible and managed the fastest bike split: 33:47. I got off my bike and ran into transition, slipped my racing flats on and then thought, 'hmmm, where is my race belt?' STILL IN MY TRANSITION BAG! Luckily, I had already pinned my number to it. I ran over to my bag, unzipped it and rooted around until I found it. And I'm supposed to be racing Elite?! Marty, unfortunately, saw this too, but fortunately also did not get it on video. I started the run and felt awesome! I felt strong and light and quick. It was a very slight uphill going out then a turn with a steep but short uphill and the rest of the loop was fast, before doing the same loop again. I pushed it and really enjoyed feeling like myself off the bike. When I hit the finish line I knew the run was short, because I felt good, but my split of 18:23 was a bit too good. I may have been good for a sub-19, though and am hoping I can feel like that in my next races. Here's a link to the results.

We hung around for awards and talked to a lot of people and generally had a great time. I'm showered, napped and ready for a fun Saturday night!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I was at my computer just before 7am this morning, logged onto the setup event website, and was constantly refreshing my screen until I see the waitlist button pop up for the Wilmington Family YMCA triathlon. There! Click! Sweet. A couple of hours later I go back and check their website and the waitlist is closed! DANG! Ooh, here’s the list, and I’m…..10th? What. The. Heck. How did 9 people beat my click? I think it should be good enough to get me into the race, though. I should find out September 1st. Fingers crossed again. And then if I get in, I’ll be asking you all to keep those fingers crossed so it will be wetsuit legal :) Remember, I’m not a real swimmer, just a pretender – like I tell my lanemates at master’s practice when I want to weasel out of anything IM, “Well, I’m doing free! I’m just a pretender here!” I think they’re tired of it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Soaking Wet

It was the weekly hard/fun Wednesday group ride. I love this ride because it consists of a small group of friends who all like to work hard but are all nice to one another if someone is having a rough go. We had a great steady workout until the last 25 or so minutes when the skies absolutely opened up and a deluge came down. Did that tropical storm take a wrong turn and come up through Durham or something? We all yelled and cursed our weatherman who promised blue, sunny skies. I have never ridden in such hard rain - a total downpour where you could barely see in front of you, and even if you could the rain was pelting you right in your eyes so it wouldn't have mattered. Thousands of needles were stinging our arms and legs and we were riding through newly formed rivers in the road. At one point my right pedal downstroke had my foot completely underwater! The only positive thing I could come up with was at least it wasn't COLD and raining. Been there, done that, never want to do it again.

We all made it safely back to our cars and when I got home I was a good girl and cleaned and lubed my chain. I'm patiently waiting for the pizza to cook before I gorge myself. While I'm waiting I'm drinking a Michelob Ultra Pomegranate Raspberry beer. It is totally girly but I love it, so nyah nyah.

I have a very strict time schedule in the morning because I need to get on the waitlist first thing for the Wilmington triathlon. That thing filled up overnight while we were at Eagleman and I really, really want to do it. Fingers crossed...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Degrees of Separation

I was thinking of ways I know some of the current Olympians, and was hoping I would become faster by proxy:

  • Shalane Flanagan (10K): My family ran into her on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill and was introduced to her by a high school friend of mine. She was, I think, in her sophomore year at UNC
  • Kara Goucher (10K): Sat next to her at the Junior Olympics cross country awards ceremony in Alabama when I was 13. She won. I was 21st. Hmmm, hard to see which one of us had a wee bit more talent. We also were at Footlocker Nationals at the same time (the one year I made it).
  • Amy Yoder-Begely (10K): She lapped me at the indoor SEC track meet my freshman year. Luckily, I didn’t get pulled off the track. They usually pull the lapped runners down to 12. There is a lot of strategy in the back to make sure you’re in the top 12 at a certain point in the race!
  • Laura Bennet (triathlon): Her brother, John Reback, was one of Marty’s constant competitors in Florida. John is nice even though some of the guys liked to call him “The Dark Prince of Triathlon” when he would win literally every race back a few years ago.
  • Hunter Kemper (triathlon): Actually do know him from way back, when we did triathlons as kids growing up in Florida.

I slept in this morning instead of going to Master’s practice, woopsy. But in my defense, I was only planning on swimming today so moving it to this evening was not a huge deal. I was feeling pretty tired and knew the extra sleep would be better for me. After TWO bike rides this weekend, (one of them being hill repeats), I was feeling a little wupped. I almost hit 11 hours of training, which is really good for me. How some of you manage close to 20 hours with a job and a life is beyond me!

I’m watching the tropical storm/hurricane information in Florida with some interest. Obviously because my parents are in St. Pete (even though, knock on wood, St. Pete gets spared all the time from the storms). I’m also interested because I know how absolutely chaotic everything gets when a storm approaches. First off, they can never predict where it’s going to make landfall – and that’s really the only place where it’s bad. Unless you get a storm like Charley which ripped through the state so fast that everything in its path was up for grabs. 2004 was a bad summer for Florida and I remember it like it was yesterday. Even though we had 3 storms come rolling through, we barely missed any work because they all came through on the weekend! What were the chances? So at least this one is midweek so everyone should get a paid day off :) They would have us wrap our computers in plastic before we left for the weekend in case there was some massive flooding (there never was). Then you try to get gas and all stations are empty or there are huge long lines. You stop into Publix and all essentials have been cleared out. You’d think it was Armageddon, not just some tropical storm! Fun times - enjoy yourselves Florida!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You Know You're Addicted To The Olympics When...

Marty and I don't typically watch a whole lot of tv. We DVR some shows but other than that it's pretty limited. All bets are off during the Olympics, as I'm sure most of you out there are nodding your head in agreement. I realized today that I have been watching WAY too much tv - and I know I'm not alone. Here are some of the things that tipped me off:

  • You start saying the local NBC station's slogan out loud (ours is: "NBC 17, Accurate, Balanced, To the Point")
  • You openly complain about the commercials you hate the most (mine: Honda's Mr. Opportunity and McDonald's new chicken sandwich)
  • You tell your friends that no, you can't go out to dinner on Friday night because it might interfere with the Olympics coverage
  • You don't know why that horse is prancing around and it's rider looks like a mannequin, but you can't stop watching
  • You feel like you intimately know Michael Phelps
  • You file a protest about the Chinese gymnasts being too young
  • You get emotional when a long shot wins a medal
  • You get annoyed that the guide on tv says this: 10-6, Swimming, Gymnastics, Fencing, Volleyball, Soccer, Rowing, Equestrian, Diving, Trampoline - but it doesn't stop you from watching the entire 8 hours
  • You screamed out loud at the final of the Mens's 4x100 meter relay
  • You shake your head and frown at the slightest bobble on the balance beam (that'll cost her at least a tenth!)
  • You are more sleep deprived than normal

Those are a few I've realized, you guys have any others?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Traveling man Marty is in Orlando today and tomorrow. He’s going to hit the downtown Y track workout tonight – I sure do miss that group. So once again Tassie and I are holding down the fort (I did have a nice dinner with my sis tonight). She is getting way fluffy again and I think it might be time for one last summertime shave. It’s always interesting to see because around this time of fluff we always think, ‘Good Tassie! You’re filling out!” She’s always been a bit scrawny. Then we shave her and we realize she’s still scrawny. We’ll have to see if this is still the case.

Training is going good – my run is really starting to come around I think! It’ll be interesting to see how I feel in my upcoming races – only 3 sprints left and I’d like to hit all of them hard.

And of course the Olympics are on and I do love watching pretty much any sport. Recently, my friend Laurie let me know that an Olympic swimmer was going to be on What Not To Wear (thanks Laurie) so of course I made sure to watch. It was breaststroker Tara Kirk and I’ve been expecting to see her in some of the races but just saw today that she actually finished .01 out of a qualifying spot at the trials in the 100 meters. BUMMER! But it gets worse…the winner was Jessica Hardy who tested positive for a banned substance! There’s a bit of controversy because it seems the committee knew about the positive test before the deadline of entries for the Olympics but failed to do anything about it. So Tara didn’t get bumped up or anything and is not at the Olympics. I just assumed that when the doper was caught they automatically reverted to next in line. Instead, the qualifier for the 200 meter breaststroke will also swim the 100 meter, even though she finished FOURTH at the trials. Jessica Hardy (the doper) also qualified in the 50 meter freestyle and the 3rd place finisher is also being left out of the games. It just seems so incredibly unfair. The episode with her in it was good, though.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Update Without My Other Half

Marty was gone this weekend but I managed to keep myself pretty busy. I got in a nice bike ride, a good long(ish) run and saw The Dark Night with friends. I've also managed to watch A LOT of Olympics and if last night was any indication, I'm going to be staying up way past my normal bedtime over the next couple of weeks.

I've also realized we really need a doggie door. Tassie loves being outside and is constantly giving us the puppy dog eyes so we'll open the door for her to let her out. Then she goes and tries to hunt squirrels and bunnies. When she gets tired, she lounges in the dirt which is great since she's a white dog. Anyways, she's discovered that with just one distinctive bark, Marty will run down the stairs and let her in. I was the recipient of this bark all weekend - it's different than her bark when someone rings the doorbell and sounds more like, "LET ME IN NOW!!! HEY!! RIGHT NOW!!" I swear she can be so bossy. Little princess!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ben & Jerry's

ONE Cheesecake Brownie is excellent. I bought a pint on Sunday and finished it off just a minute ago. It's one of their new flavors and I give it two thumbs up. It's even good after your husband accidentally puts it away in the fridge because you were too lazy to get off the couch and you don't find out until the next morning when you ask him what the heck he was thinking and put it back in the freezer which later makes the remaining ice cream refreeze into one big frozen hunk. Still yummm.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Look Recall? No Problem!

I definitely don’t have to worry about my Look pedals being a part of the recall because the ones I Have could be anywhere from 10-20+ years old. When I first started doing triathlons again after college, I used a 1990 Trek that was on consignment at one of the local bike shops in Florida (this was 2002, so the bike was a bit old by this point). It came with the Look pedals that I’m still using today, and I’m not sure exactly when they were put on this bike. Maybe when the person got it, maybe later, or possibly even before. Now that I think about it, I think Marty has my pedals on his tri bike and I have his, but his aren’t much newer than mine.

I’m not sore anymore from the triathlon – that thing really tired me out for a few days. Next races on tap are: possibly the sportsplex sprint in Hillsborough since OSB Multisport sponsors this series. Then the Sandman in Virginia Beach, and hopefully the Wilmington Sprint. We got shut out of registration in June and will hopefully get on the waitlist early enough to get into the race. Other than that I’m not sure what we’re doing.

Yikes, sometimes my posts sure are boring! Come back again when I'm not so tired and uncreative.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Can Ride My Bike With No Handlebars…

Actually I can’t, but I do like the Flobots. But what I CAN do is change out my cassette! And obviously since I’m blogging about it I’m very excited about this. See, if you have race wheels, it’s good to put your cassette on your race wheels because your chain and cassette wear together. Some people keep a different cassette on their race wheels, but this can sometimes lead to shifting problems (chain skipping, etc). Marty has always changed out my cassette before races, even though he doesn’t really like bike type work. I know some guys love this stuff, but not him. But he loves me so he will do this for me with minimal grumbling ;) A few years ago he said, “Look Bri, you really should learn how to do this yourself. It’s simple, you take this chain whip (me: what the heck type of tool is that?) and you wrap it around your cassette, put the wheel between your legs, put this key in here, take a wrench…"(me: lalalalalalalalala) I claimed girly ignorance and never had to do it myself.

Enter a few weeks ago my good friend Alysia who recently bought some race wheels off of Stacey. Alysia wanted to learn how to do this so Marty held an impromptu cassette changing 101 for us. I figured if she was going to learn than I should too. Especially since she was learning at our house – I mean what was I going to do, claim girliness again and watch tv? We both watched Marty and it still seemed a bit confusing but I had seen it done several times now even though I never admitted to watching before. Last Friday Alysia came over again with her bike and race wheels and planned on changing out her cassette while Marty watched. She did it with little problem and then Marty said, “Bri, do you want to try?” I immediately answered no, but then decided I might as well step it up. And like my 3 year old niece would say, “I did it!” And just to be sure, I took my cassette back off yesterday morning before our ride and got it back on my regular wheel before Marty even came downstairs. I wonder what I should learn next.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lake Logan Race Report

We left Friday afternoon to make the 4 hour drive to Asheville, picked up our race packet and then had a nice dinner at the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company before hitting the sack pretty early.

We thought we were going to get to the site nice and early, arriving before 6am but most people seemed to beat us there! We had to park kind of far away and then it seemed like there was just not enough time to do everything I wanted to. There was a lot of confusion - okay, probably I was just confused - about the 1st transition which had to be moved to the swim exit. In years past, the swim start was a good 1/2 mile away from the transition area. The swim is in a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and the course ends taking you down the river, under a bridge and right to the entrance of T1. But this year that river was pretty much just a rock bed so the swim finish would be the same as the start. They decided to have an extra transition area there so everyone could put their shoes on to run to the next transition area. We would be running on a rocky dirt road for at least a 1/2 mile, and although I did see some people do this barefoot, that was out of the question for me. So my confusion mostly dealt with what shoes to wear, do I put on my socks in this new transition or the one with my bike? Do I take my wetsuit off and leave it there (are we allowed to do that?) or do I run with it in my hands? Or do I run with it still half on? AAUUGGHH! During all these questions I met Ashley Long who must've thought I was a weirdo because I don't think I was all there right then. Luckily, we were able to talk after the race, too. I feel like I've known her for a long time and that we've been friends for years - it was great to hang out with her even if it was just for a little while. I'm hoping to go and visit her in Greenville sometime in the not so distant future.

I got all my questions taken care of (wear racing shoes, no socks and leave wetsuit) but didn't have any chance to warmup. Oh well. I really didn't have ANY expectations for this race. I didn't know the competition except for my teammates and had no idea how I was going to hold up over this distance. BUT I was so looking forward to racing and competing and having fun.

My wave was the 4th to go off (women 34 & under, the first women's wave) and my goal was to try and stay on Alysia's feet for as long as possible. I felt good at the start and got behind her but lost her quickly as we started weaving through the male age groupers ahead of us. The small buoys were hard to spot and I think I went a bit wide going out to the first turn buoy, but that always seems to happen. By the time I got out the water my lats were very sore so I knew I had put in a good effort. This swim was definitely not short. Swim 22:48, 6th overall.

I saw Alysia still in transition and got my wetsuit off and shoes quicker so started the first run ahead of her. I tried to run this little portion fast because I knew it might be a good chance to save some time. I finally got to my bike and my heart rate was sky high! It slowed while I put my socks on and by the time I got to the mount line I was ready to go. T1 5:48, 2nd overall.

This bike is not super hard, but I also wouldn't call it easy - it has some rolling hills, and one hill that you go down at the beginning and then back up at the end that is worthy of you getting out of the saddle. I remember getting to the 5 mile marker and thinking, "5 miles?! That's it?!" But I soon got into a rhythm and felt good. There were about 5 or so guys that I kept going back and forth with, which probably helped me overall with my bike split. I passed a few girls out there and figured I must be near the front because I thought I had a pretty good swim. Towards the turn around which was a series of turns through a little town, it started to get crowded. There was one part where we did a hard left followed by a hard right and the guy in front of me must've taken the second turn a little too aggressively because he slid out. I panicked a bit and tried to get out of his way, but me getting out of his way actually put me directly on the path that he was sliding. Now I realize if I had just held my line and turned like normal I would've been in the clear, but instead I was heading right towards him. I slammed on my brakes and unclipped a foot to drag it. He was still attached to his bike on the ground. I felt like I was in a movie where someone is lying on the street and a big truck is heading right towards them - the truck brakes and your sitting there waiting to see if it will stop in time before it hits the person. I was the truck in this scenario. I managed to stop with just a minor bump into him with my front wheel. My back wheel had come off the ground because I had braked so hard but I stayed up. After a few quick breaths I asked if he was all right and he said yes. Then I turned around and saw the girl I had just passed a few minutes ago getting up off the ground. I don't know if she took the turn too hard or if she also panicked when the guy in front of me went down. I asked if she was all right and she looked pretty shaken up but also said yes. Luckily, there were a few volunteers at this corner. I went off and tried to get back into a good cadence and hoped I didn't lose too much time. The rest of the ride was uneventful after that :) I came off first for my wave, so I was the first women off the bike. Bike 1:06:16, 4th overall. This bike had to have been short of 40K.

T2 was quick, and I saw that one of the girls I had passed around halfway was not far behind at all. She had a huge cheering section out there. T2 :39, 2nd overall.

Here comes the run! This run is mostly shaded and the temps were very nice. It's net uphill to the turn around (and obviously net downhill coming back). I started off very conservatively. I think I've run 6 miles since starting back running several weeks ago, but I'm really not sure since I always go by time. And I've had plenty of meltdowns in an Olympic distance when I am in shape, so I really just wanted to enjoy this run.

I stayed relaxed and kept going after all the guys ahead of me. I hit the turn around and on my way back I saw the girl who was right behind me out of transition was still pretty much right behind me. I decided I felt decent so picked it up a bit. I cheered for Ashley and Alysia who also weren't too far behind. Right before I saw Alysia I saw this lady who was running at supersonic speed. My first thought was, geez I hope she's a relay! But Alysia yelled to me that she was from the other wave and I better get my butt moving! The other wave started 8 minutes behind us and this person was well within that time frame. Now I decided I would try and just cross the finish line first because she was certainly slaughtering the rest of us. I found out later that she is a super stud duathlete - and her swim isn't bad at all so she's a stud triathlete now, too. I tried to push the last few miles but the lack of much intensity so far definitely caught up with me. The last 1/2 mile was tough, but I did manage to cross the line first (2nd overall). 3rd place was just 20 seconds back and 4th was another 10 seconds behind her. It turned out to be quite a close race! Run 42:51, 7th overall.

I'm very pleased and a bit surprised I was able to finish so high. Mediocre is not the right word, but I wasn't GREAT at anything: 6th on the swim, 4th on the bike and 7th on the run somehow got me to 2nd overall, but I'll take it. I was very sore after the race, and still today but I'm feeling better. Marty and I did an easy ride this morning and I think that will help. I highly recommend this race to everyone next year - hopefully the water levels will be back to normal by then!

I thought Marty was taking a picture of me getting my award but he took a video instead, if you want to watch. Nothing very interesting or funny to be quite honest, just your run of the mill getting the award scene.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Back from Lake Logan

Just a quick update - I survived! And even finished 2nd overall! It WAS a beautiful venue for a triathlon, even with the low lake levels made for an additional run. I also came about as close as ever to crashing on the bike, but I managed to stay upright (the guy ahead of me and the girl behind me weren't as lucky). And yes I BEAT MARTY!!! Not as fun since we weren't in the same wave - I would've much preferred catching him on the run and giving him a big slap on the butt ;) Anyways, I'll put way too many details about the race in my race report tomorrow, but for now I'm going to go relax on the couch in front of the tv.