a Bri Gaal's Blog: September 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Glimpse in Our Life...

Blogs are so voyeuristic, which I suppose is one of the reasons why they are popular. I do enjoy reading about what's going on in other people's lives, seeing what they're up to and all that. I feel like I have all these additional 'friends' even though I haven't met many of them, and sometimes have never even talked through the internet with them! But I still enjoy checking to see if they updated, and get annoyed when they don't :) I imagine there are many of you out there who have never met me but still read my blog. You can say hi sometime if you want :) Anyways, I took two quick videos before our run the other day with Tassie. So here's another glimpse into our lives...

She's pretty obedient, she always sits and is mostly patient when we put her leash on.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sleep Deprivation Forever

During my very short swimming career as a child, I would see the adult Master’s swimmers and think to myself, “WHY in the world would they CHOOSE to come here and swim?! I’m NEVER going to do that!” It’s quite evident why it was so short, huh! After college I swore to myself that I would not get up before 6am for practice of any sort. I had had enough morning practices and promised I wouldn’t put myself through that on my own will.

Back several years ago, Marty and I were not even semi-regular, but would go to a local high school’s pool for 6am morning swim practice. So much for that promise to myself. The year before we left Florida, I started meeting a friend of mine for a once a week 6am spin class, and a once a week 6am swim together. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Now for almost a year I have been going to our local Master’s practice, headed by a really great guy, at 6am, 3 mornings a week! This means the alarm goes off at 5:25 – even earlier than it did in college for morning runs. But wait, NOW instead of having practice from 6-7am, we’re going 5:45-7:00am. So this morning the alarm went off at 5:10am. You have got to be freaking kidding me. To make matter’s worse, there was a swim meet this past weekend so the water was oh-so-chilly. Chillier than normal. My comment of ‘stupid kids!’ was quickly followed by, ‘sorry, I’m not at my best at 5:50…’

I didn’t get there in time, but was still swimming before 6am. Here’s the typical schedule:

-Alarm goes off. Moan and groan. Whine about not getting enough sleep. Push Marty to make sure he’s awake.
-Tassie runs over and kisses my face, all wiggly and EXCITED FOR MORNING!!! YAY!!!
-Get dressed, brush teeth, grab bags and stumble down stairs.
-Forget something and go back upstairs (this always seems to happen)
-Let Tassie out if Marty hasn’t. One of us gets the coffee pot going.
-Let Tassie back in and feed her
-Possible important bathroom break
-Give Tassie heart pill in liverwurst. Wash hands because liverwurst stinks
-Ask Marty to make me a PB&J for the afternoon
-Hug Tassie and wish I could stay home and play with her all day
-Pack up car, walk back into house because I forget something
-Drive to pool semi-awake
-See someone walking out of pool, already finished with their workout and realize I’m not SO crazy…
-Locker room
-Head to pool deck, get cap ready, chat with fellow swimmers
-Watch everyone dive or jump in
-Head to pools edge, make an ugly face to Marty
-Sit down at edge and dangle legs into water
-Announce to Marty that the water is cold (again)
-Make face when someone splashes me on their flipturn. Never you mind I’m about to get in the pool anyways.
-Deep breath and slide into pool, push off the wall, and curse up a blue streak in my head
-Workout gets underway and I’m happy I’m there :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Run for Fun

The 5k today was really fun if you are into a painful, moderately hilly courses in 90% humidity. Alysia and I went 1-2, and yes, although Marty pointed out I set the course record, let ME point out that the previous course record was 22:30. My time of just under 20:00 really shouldn't be setting any records! Nice tempo run, though. And I got a gift certificate from a local running store so I can't complain too much! :)
We're watching Cider again - we have quite a nice rotation going with her owner Kristy. She'll be watching Tassie this coming weekend. Cider got groomed finally so now the two of them look very similar.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cutie Pie Injury

That's my niece Ashleigh, with her 'Build-A-Bear' (or in this case, 'Build-An-Elephant') and her arm in a sling. Her and her sister were playing on the stairs and Haileigh accidentally dislocated Ashleigh's elbow! No worries, it's actually a common thing in kids. So the next morning when they realized it, she got it re-located (?) and had to wear a sling for a day. Yep, just one day. That's how injuries go when you're 3. You or I would've been out for a month!

This weekend we're finally staying in town, after being gone for the past 3 weekends in a row. Now I can finally catch up on all the things that pile up when you're gone. Like the laundry. It's all clean, but it doesn't like to fold itself. And Husband doesn't seem to like to fold, so I'll be plopped on the couch folding mucho loads hoping there's something good on tv for a good chunk of the day.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a 5K in RTP (Research Triangle Park - where most of us drones work every week). There's also a 10 miler that Marty will be doing. I'm not expecting much for this race, but figured it would be a great opportunity to go out and get a good solid tempo run in.

In other news, we've decided not to put our house on the market. Not that I ever talked about putting it on the market, but we've been looking at some houses in Cary and we were planning on putting ours up for sale. We want to get into a slightly bigger one with a garage, and prices are great. But, we finally decided that trying to sell our house now - with a much lower buyer pool right before the holidays kick up might not be the best time. We're not in any hurry, either. So we're going to hold off until the spring. Luckily, we don't need to sell our house for much more than we bought it to move into something bigger. That's because Marty analyzes everything and is a cheapskate (see previous post).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Expensive Entry Fees

I got around to checking out the Philly Half Marathon registration -- $100!! My mouth dropped open and I immediately texted (is that a word?) Marty. It's unbelievable how much race entries are these days. I've gotten kind of used to the amount for triathlons, but for a run?! They'd better have a great goodie bag. I can't even blame myself for being too lazy to sign up because the fee was raised in early September, and I really didn't commit to running it until very recently (Bri + long stuff = yucky). But I figured it would be nice to try and better my pr and since Marty was running the marathon, I might as well do something. I didn't for once think about not running it because of the entry fee. But that's exactly what Marty said when he saw me this afternoon.

Oh no he di'in't.

Have I ever mentioned Marty is a teensy-weensy bit cheap?

"What?!!!" I said, looking at him like he had two heads. "Well, then I'm not going up there with you!"

I think he relented because he knew I wasn't budging, but I can't say he was happy about it. Nor was he mad. He just didn't say anything. I think he knew my mind was made up.

Now let's recap my 1/2 marathon experiences:

1. Duke Liver Center Half Iron 2004: horrible horrible, lots of walking and an unusable quad afterwards that ended the triathlon season. 1:51:41

2. Duke Liver Center Half Iron 2005: thought I would come back and show this course what I was made of! Ended up even worse. This is starting to be the definition of insanity...1:54:28

3. Sydney Half Marathon 2006: Just for fun since we were living in Australia at the time. Beautiful but hilly course, didn't train specifically for it and was just there for a good time. Splits were confusing since they, like the rest of the world, use the metric system. "Hmmm, so 13K would be like...ah forget it." 1:33:high? Can't find the results.

4. White Lake Half Iron: Flat course, in great shape (yay to only working part time for the early part of that year!) but don't let me fool you, this one was still painful and yucky. 1:31:47

So my goal will be to break that time. I ran 10 miles after work with Marty today and I don't think we were moving all that fast. But, there's still several more weeks to get in shape.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Bri Loop

The Bri Loop is one of our typical running routes from our house. It's half on hilly roads and half on trails at Bond Park. The name came very simply after I ran the loop when we first moved up here. Marty coined it. Incidentally, we also have 'the Tassie Loop' and the 'extended Tassie Loop.' No 'Marty Loop' to date.

The Bri Loop typically takes about 40 min for an easy run, but yesterday I ran it in 37 min. This afternoon I had a message from Marty saying that he AND Tassie had done it in 38 min "so we're just 1 min behind you!" Tassie loves this change in weather, and is able to run so much further when it gets a little cooler.

Marty and I had originally planned on meeting at Umstead when I got off work. I went in before 8am with the hopes of getting out around 4, but I found out late in the day I had to go to a 4 o'clock meeting. Argh. Marty couldn't meet me much later so I was on my own. But what a nice day and run it turned out to be! I soon forgot work and was lost in my own thoughts on the beautiful trails in 70 degree weather. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend Recap

We came home to one very excited dog - she was a wiggling maniac. You definitely feel loved when your pet is so extrememly happy to see you.

We had another fun weekend, this time down in Wrightsville Beach. Marty and I were lucky enough to stay at the in-laws beautiful beach house that is right on the beach, and a very short distance from the swim start of the Wilmington YMCA triathlon. Our friends Alysia and Jimmy stayed there with us and we all felt very lucky to be staying in such a great place. Alysia and I rode our bikes over to the transition area early Saturday morning, in the cold and wind. Cold being relative, but cold for just leaving summertime.

This race was night and day compared to the Virginia Beach race, since I knew SO many people. It's so fun to laugh and catch up with people at the races. The logistical issues at this race went smooth for what I saw and we were all soon in the water shivering before the horn sounded (no wetsuit). My swim felt great. I have definitely improved this year and have improved significantly from a few years ago when I was racing in Florida. Back then I was typically the last elite out by several minutes and raced alone until the run. But now I'm actually able to stay with packs and the main pack of girls was not too far in front of me. The swim times were a lot slower this year than last - I guess the current was not as strong. I hit the ladders and sprinted out to the transition area. This is a long run and quite painful on the feet. Along the way I passed Nas and Laurie but once in transition I somehow managed to get my sunglasses tangled in my helmet straps and had to take the entire helmet off to fix it after unsuccessfully trying to fix it while on my head. They both left transition ahead of me. If it's not one thing it's another in transition with me it seems! Practice practice practice.

I could see Nas ahead of me for quite awhile on this bumpy, potholed bike course. She slowly got away and Laurie and Alysia were also not too far ahead of me. They stayed that way for what seemed like forever, I just couldn't get going on the bike! Finally, I passed them towards the end before almost getting hit by a car and having a head-on collision with a few age groupers. My time was 1 min slower from last year. It was a bit windy on one stretch, but my bike is a direct product of time and mileage. Both have been very low this year, so for what it was, I was happy with my bike today. This time I transitioned smoothly and was out on the run.

I felt good on the run. I pushed it hard and passed a couple of people. I could see some people futher ahead but just couldn't get there. Again, I was almost 1 min slower from last year. My top end speed just isn't there right now. I still managed a 19:08 split which is pretty good for a 5k off the bike, and I really can't complain. I know if I hadn't missed all that time because of the injury and had been able to run and continue my workouts through that time I could've been much faster.

I finished as the 4th female and absolutely did the best I could on the day. That is something my parents instilled in me at a young age ("Do the best you can and be happy with it"), and they both even reiterated it yesterday when I spoke with them after the race. I am very happy that I was able to comeback from not running for almost 8 weeks and manage to compete so well with the other elites.

But I have to admit that there is that little voice in the back of my head that I've been trying to squash all weekend. The voice that says, "but you're capable of going so much faster!" Sure, aren't we all? If only I had this, or that, or had this much time, or was prettier, stronger, richer, whatever! Of course I can go faster and have gone faster, but I have to be happy with the present. With the now. And I did the best I could yesterday. So I will continue to squash that little voice and be content with how it all went.

So what's next? Well, I'm not ready for a break. I guess because I already had that long impromptu one. Marty is going to run the Philadelphia Marathon so I think I will run the 1/2 marathon and try to get a better p.r. (mine is from my split at the White Lake Half). I think it will be fun to concentrate on running for a bit. I'll continue going to Master's practice because it's a lot of fun, and will still ride my bike as long as the light holds out.

Oh yeah, the rest of the weekend was SO FUN!! Some more friends came over to the beach house after the race and we hung out and ate pizza and downed a bunch of beer. Then later on the 4 of us met some girls from Master's out in downtown Wilmington for a nice dinner and then off to a bar and later into a dance club! We were all booty shaking with the best of them - OH MY! )

Saturday, September 20, 2008

quick rr

No computer, this is from my phone! 4th overall, good swim, good run, ok bike, fun race! Now a beach weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Last Tri!

Tonight I need to pack for my last triathlon of the season, the Wilmington YMCA triathlon (even though it's in Wrightsville Beach...). It's an odd 'sprint' - 1500 meter swim (with a current), 12 mile bike, 5K run, all very flat. Last year after doing this race, I swore I wouldn't do it again because the bike has a ton of potholes and the run is boring and mostly on a sidewalk. But after my very abbreviated season, I quickly decided I wanted IN! It's going to be a very competitive race and I'm looking forward to it. The race also starts early, at 7am, which means it will barely be sunrise. Nothing like swimming in the ocean at dawn! (i.e. shark feeding time, hee hee). Unfortunately, it doesn't look like a wetsuit is in the cards, so I guess I'm just going to have to swim my butt off without it.

Inside a 3.5 Year Old's Brain

My niece Ashleigh asked Marty to take a picture of her on his phone. She is a total ham.

Then she took a picture of Marty.

A little later my sister asked her is she knew Marty's name. She shook her head 'no' with a smile, so Heather told her, "That's Uncle Marty!" Ashleigh looked at her, then at him and said, "Uncle...Party!"

From the stories I've heard about Marty at FSU and as a lifeguard on the Jersey Shore, she is right on target! Uncle Party. Too funny.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sandman Triathlon Race Report

I slept in (kind of – 7:30 is sleeping in to me these days) on Saturday while Marty got up much earlier to drive to Wrightsville Beach to swim in the Pier 2 Pier open water swim. I did consider going down with him and cheering him on but was pretty tired from the week and knew I would be much less stressed if I just stayed home and took care of some house things. Marty was back shortly after lunch and we left Cary around 2 pm. Our directions said it would take us 3hr49min to get to packet pickup and halfway through our drive I read on the race information sheet that packet pickup was only until 6pm! Marty and I are kind of known for our directionally challenged abilities, but we made it there with plenty of time to spare. Pheww! Then it was off to unknown parts of Virginia Beach to meet up with one of Marty’s clients who had come to watch the race. Finding a restaurant, and more importantly safe parking, since our bikes and Marty’s surfboard were on the roof, proved to be quite difficult and I was inches away from having a complete meltdown. I held it together and after a nice dinner we finally made it to my sister’s house around 9pm!

We didn’t have to get up any earlier than we do for Master’s swim practice so that was nice. Heather had the coffee pot set for us and we were out the door earlier than planned – amazing! Heather and our nieces were going to head to the race a little later to cheer us on. Since we didn’t know the area and had heard parking was pretty much ‘at your own risk’ we just said forget it and parked in a $10 lot close to transition. It’s always fun to go to a new race out of the area because it’s a different experience and you don’t have any idea what the competition will be like. The only bummer is that since you don’t know anyone, there’s not all that fun chitchat before the race. The only person I knew was my other sister’s boyfriend Scott, and we had a nice chat in the port-o-potty line :) We got our stuff set up and did a very short jog as a warm-up. For some reason I was feeling stiff and tight but hoped once I got going I would be okay. Marty and I walked down the beach with our wetsuits (have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE wearing a wetsuit?! If not, I LOVE IT), and I marveled at how calm the water was! I really don’t know if I’ve ever done a race in the Atlantic that had ever been that calm before (we’ve done plenty of Atlantic swims in the Florida races). The water was not very cold at all, and it was HOT outside so we were both roasting once we got our wetsuits on. We did a short warm-up swim and then got lined up on the beach for the start. The announcer said we had 5 min to go, but just a short while later the horn blew. Right when they blew the horn, a couple of lifeguards were walking right in front of us, so this was a bit messy as we ran straight for them and I got tangled up with one of them who fell. Once I got into the water I felt like I was in the middle of a mosh pit and could barely get my stroke going at all. For the first time I was dunked and actually held under! That was a bit scary but I can hold my breath for a pretty long time so I didn’t panic or anything. I finally got to the buoy and only got punched or kicked a dozen or so more times (!) Once around the buoy I swam right by at least 5 people, if not more. What in the world is the point of going completely anaerobic at the start of the swim? Why do people insist on sprinting like mad and causing lots of chaos when they so clearly can’t hold near that pace? I really wish I could sprint faster and get out of the mayhem but the fact is, I can’t. Sigh. After that mess, I was all by myself in the calm ocean. After awhile I could see a small group ahead of me and tried to push harder to see if I could bridge up. I finally did for the last few hundred yards and got to benefit from a bit of draft, as short as it was.

I had asked my sister to do two things for me – 1. Tell me what place I was in when I got out of the swim, and 2. Give me time splits to the people ahead of me off the bike. As I ran out of the water she yelled “You’re 2nd! First is right there!” pointing at the girl who was just a few paces ahead of me. Talk about surprised! I couldn’t believe I was this far up! She also admitted to me later that SHE couldn’t believe how early I came out of the water. Once on the bike I caught the first place girl after a few miles. The rest of the bike was uneventful – it was just a flat, out and back course. At the turnaround I saw there were several ladies not too far behind. Towards the end of the bike I backed off so I could spin my legs and two women came by me. I ended up getting off the bike in 3rd right behind them – but not without hearing my sister yell, “Brianne! 1st is 4 seconds ahead and 2nd is 2 seconds ahead!!” I had to laugh because of course I knew where I stood since they were right ahead of me; she sure does take directions well! I had a quick transition and ran out just behind 1st place – she was moving! I thought we might have a quite a battle and I pushed it hard to see if she would go with me. After awhile I couldn’t hear her breathing behind me anymore so I knew I must’ve put some time on her, but never looked back. I concentrated on catching as many men ahead of me as possible. The Virginia Beach ‘boardwalk’ would be more aptly named ‘cementwalk’. It was pretty brutal out there with the temps and humidity way high and no shade whatsoever (and it also produced some suspiciously slow run times). I put my head down and tried not to think too much. At the turnaround I saw I had a pretty comfortable lead and was still feeling decent which was good. I got to the finish line still in first place, although they either didn’t realize it or I look like a boy because I don’t think they said my name until much later after I was walking out of the chute. Oh well, I realize that most of the focus is typically on the men’s race.

Afterwards, we all spent some time in the ocean before my sister and nieces left to go home. I packed up my stuff and made my way over to the awards ceremony which was at an outdoor restaurant – they had tons of food and beer for the athletes – so neat! And it’s always fun to pocket a bit of money for the hard work :) And yes, I have to mention that Marty beat me quite soundly. I had actually predicted he would beat me by about 3 minutes, and he beat me by 3:33, so I wasn’t too far off. Of course, he SHOULD beat me! The fact that I got him at Lake Logan just shows how badly he wasn’t training earlier. A few weeks of training under him and he’s right there duking it out with the leaders again. Great job, Marty!

Here's Scott, me and my niece Haileigh post race:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick Sand(man)

We're at my sister's house in Chesapeake playing Wii and getting ready to order some pizza before Marty and I make the drive back to Cary. The race went good - for both of us! Marty ended up 5th overall and showed how he can race with just a few weeks of semi-serious training. I was first for the women and brought home the bacon for Marty. It was HOT! I'll write a race report sometime for those who like the details, and for those of you who think race reports are self-serving, I give you the following picture ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gas Freakout

This whole run on gas thing makes me so angry! I don't know if this is going on in other places but here in the Raleigh area most residents thought it would be a good idea to stock up on gas because of Ike, then the stations decided they would raise prices (isn't that illegal?!) So I'm driving home from work yesterday and there are long lines at the gas pumps and the prices are $4.19 -- the night before it was around $3.60. Come on. And I heard that some stations near NC State were charging $4.99!

Marty left this morning and was able to top off the Fit at a local station where he said it was coming out in a dribble. I hope he can get back here and then we can get to Virginia! This is so ridiculous.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Tassie is a goldendoodle, but I'm frankly embarrassed by that name so I usually tell people she's part golden retriever, part poodle when they ask. A lot of people then exclaim, "Oh! A labradoodle!" which I totally don't get but there you go. We're watching Tassie's best friend, Cider, tonight through Tuesday. Cider's mom, Kristy and us always watch each other's dogs when we go out of town and they play with each other at least once a week if not more. They've been playing together ever since they were puppies and I really think they think they are sisters. I tried to get some pictures of them tonight but it was impossible to get both to sit still and look at the camera. Cider was busy doing a trick because she thought I was going to give her a treat and Tassie wouldn't stop wiggling and trying to head-butt Cider.

Here they are when I was able to snap a quick pick before they knew what I was doing. Cider hasn't had her last summer haircut yet...

Cider, sit! Tassie, no!

Almost sitting pretty together

Best friends :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back home

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous beach day. The water was comfy and warm and dead calm. They could call it the Lake of Mexico instead of the Gulf of Mexico! After a final breakfast with the fam, Marty and I went for another open water swim where he once again swam right next to me. Afterwards we played in the water for a bit, acting like little kids and having fun. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon at my mom’s house where we also enjoyed a great nap. I love vacation.

I’m always amazed at how easy (and quick) it is to fly down to Florida, and with a direct Southwest flight, it’s also pretty affordable. This next weekend we’ll be up in Virginia Beach for the Sandman Triathlon. I’ve been looking forward to this race and hope to walk away with a bit of $$ if I have a good one. It will be nice to have my sister and my nieces out there cheering for me, too. The rematch between Marty and I is not going to be too exciting, I can tell you that. With the longer swim, flat bike and run, I don’t have a chance of beating him. This is a very good thing and means he’s actually training again. -
and Leon is NOT getting larrrrrgerrrr.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

St. Pete Beach

I'm hanging in the hotel room waiting for Marty to get back from the horse track with the boys. The girls and I (and my mom) went to International mall in Tampa where Bri made out like a bandit (thanks Mom!) We've been having a great time here in Florida and I've had the best sleep in our dreamy bed at the Don Cesar. This is totally not a hotel you will see Marty and I staying in at any other time of the year except for an excursion like his dad's birthday. We would usually be in the Super 8 down the road. So I'm not complainin'!

Yesterday we did some short intervals on the beach which was quite tough since the winds were strong and the sand was sugary. Then we had a nice family/birthday dinner and after that Marty, Tim (bro-in-law) and I hit a beach bar where I not only found $10 on the ground (total score) but I also got to drink Boag's beer which is made in Tasmania. Yum yum.

This morning we met my dad for a run and a swim in the gulf. The swim was so refreshing and when I thought I was done, Marty came in to swim a bit (he ran longer than I did). He convinced me to swim out to the buoy which wasn't too far but I got about 3/4 of the way out there and got a little freaked and shouted "MARTY I DONT WANNA GO ANY FURTHER!!!" It was deep and we were out from shore with no one around us. So funny how we can get mental quick! He calmly said, "Don't worry, I'm right here." He swam easy so he was right next to me the whole time. Then I laughed at my little freakout and continued to the buoy.

We're headed to dinner soon and another beach bar I'm sure! Our flight doesn't leave until 8pm tomorrow night so we still have another day to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

De-Fluffed Again!

Here's Tassie in all of her fluffy gloriousness this morning:

We're not sure she could even see the past few weeks...

And here she is this afternoon after Marty took her to the groomers and they shaved her entire body

Look at her ridiculously skinny tail!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Short Wii-k

We finished off the Labor Day weekend playing my sister’s Wii at our friend’s house. I LOVE guitar hero! It’s so fun and now I’m begging Marty to get us a Wii, too. It’s a super short work week for me because we’re heading to St. Pete this Thursday evening to celebrate Marty’s dad’s birthday. It’s just coincidence that’s we’re celebrating in St. Pete – his dad lives in Miami, but this works out well for me so now I can also see my parents. We should be able to get some beach running and hopefully some open water swimming in while we’re down there since we’re staying at the Don. It will be a fun weekend and we’re looking forward to seeing our 10 month old niece as well.

I forgot to mention that we got a good laugh at Tassie’s expense on Friday evening. She had played with her best friend Cider earlier in the afternoon and then was of course so excited to have all these new people in her house for the happy hour. But I guess she got a little worn out with all the excitement and right around 10pm she was no where to be found…she had decided enough was enough and headed upstairs to her bed and was fast asleep as the party was still going on!