a Bri Gaal's Blog: November 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wine, Cheese and Chocolate

We had a great time and late night at a wine & cheese party last night. The chocolate fountain was also a big hit and I think I ate a few pounds of cheese throughout the night. I'm not a big wine fan, although the sweeter, dessert wines are pretty good - so I drank beer instead. How uncouth!

Some of you over the past couple of years have asked why we left Florida, more specifically Orlando, and moved up to North Carolina. I think the picture below is pretty compelling and one of the reasons why we wanted to get the heck out of there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Vay-Cay

Ahhhh, gotta love the 4 day weekend! It feels like Sunday but I still have the weekend ahead of me! So far we've had a great Thanksgiving vacation. Yesterday morning Marty ran the Cary Turkey Trot and had a pretty good showing for his current fitness level. Tassie and I cheered on the runners (she cried again when Marty went by and she realized she wasn't going with him), and we got to talk with Rebecca and Scott DeWire for a bit after the race. They're moving to Philadelphia in the next few months with their very cute baby.

In the afternoon I was going to ride the trainer and then realized that would be the stupidest thing ever since the weather was so nice. I talked Marty into hitting the greenways on our mountain bikes instead. I was thinking maybe an hour max at cruise pace. But when we got close to Umstead, he convinced me that we should go through Umstead - which not only adds several more miles but a lot more hills. I said sure, why not? Then when we got to Harrison, he convinced me that instead of taking the straight shot home, we should try and find the greenway again. Ooookaaaay. This ride ended up being 1:45, with many hills and a very out of shape rider on a 40 lb mountain bike - I was whupped at the end! I had just enough time to stick my sweet potato casserole in the oven and shower before heading over to my sister's where we all proceeded to stuff ourselves silly.

This morning we had master's practice and a few other showed up (including Beth and Oscar) and we did a typical 'Fast Friday' workout (lots of short fast intervals with lots of rest). I'm hoping these workouts help me get out faster next year with the good swimmers so I can try and hang on longer. Off to breaky at the Food Factory with the gang and then Beth and Oscar came to our house to meet Princess Tasmania and her bff Cider. It was great to hang out with the two of them since I feel like I know them through their blogs. Now they only need to follow Beth's family's lead and move south!

I also got out on the old tri bike this afternoon with Alysia - lots of chatting and a little biking :)

And oh yeah, in case you're wondering about the push up challenge, here's the status. After week 4 you take another test and I was able to do 35 consecutive push ups. But lets just say the last 10 are maybe not full push ups, but whatever. Onto week 5 but I realize that this test now puts me at the level 1 schedule for week 5 - I had been on the level 2 schedule for all the previous weeks. And after week 5 you take another test and if you don't do 45 consecutive push ups, you have to repeat week 5....you may see where I'm going with this. I think it's possible I might be stuck at week 5 for awhile, maybe forever?? But from just several weeks ago when I could only do 12 push ups, I think my improvement is pretty good.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sammy Save-Up

Sammy Save-Up was what Marty called me today after he challenged me to a 100 yard race at the end of our swim workout this morning. When he initially said “let’s race this one” I said, “whatever” because Marty can do under a 1:00 pretty much anytime he wants to. So he said he would do it one-arm. I agreed and then realized after the first 25 that it was going to be very difficult to beat him! How embarrassing! I saved my kick and really turned it on the last 25 yards so I could get ahead and win the dumb thing. And that’s when he declared “Nice job, Sammy Save-up” Hey, a win’s a win :)

I’m so glad it’s a 3 day work week! We’re doing Thanksgiving at my sister’s who lives in Raleigh with a couple of her friends – I’m in charge of the sweet potatoe casserole…I’m pretty sure I can handle that. Marty is doing the Turkey Trot on Thursday morning in Cary and once again Tassie and I will be out there cheering everyone on. I had another massage yesterday and my calf is feeling great, but I figured I might as well wait until next week and make sure it’s 100% before jumping into anything. Friday morning we’re having Master’s an hour later than normal and Beth will be joining us! Then we’re going to hit the Food Factory for breakfast afterwards – it’s always my motivation to make sure I swim Friday, although I have been known on some occasions to just meet people for breakfast and skip the swim. Not often, though!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So Cute

Yesterday Marty and I had a nice day together. We went shopping so I could try and update my ugly winter clothing and Marty ended up with a couple of sweaters, also (which he was later complimented on by a waitress!) Then we went to Umstead so he could run and I was going to take Tassie and Cider for a walk (we're dogsitting this weekend) but that proved to be way harder than I thought it would be and I ended up driving them back home and then going back to Umstead for a walk before Marty was done. Tassie started it all because she started whining and cry-barking when Marty took off. This got Cider excited and they both were pulling like crazy and they almost took me down. Then when they started to calm down, another bundled up runner who looked very similar to Marty ran by and the whole process started over again. Instead of getting my shoulders ripped out of their sockets I called it a day for the double doodle walk.

Later on we decided to have date night and we headed to the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Raleigh. This is where the 'so cute' title comes from. We were eating our pizza, deep in conversation when a cute little boy comes walking from the bathroom and gives Marty a half wave - the type of wave little kids give when they are a bit embarrassed but still want to say hi. Marty immediately jumps up (to my surprise) and exclaims: "Hi Stephen! How are you?! This is my wife, Bri!" Then he turns to me and says, "Stephen is in my Kung Fu class." Stephen just stood there with a shy smile, probably because he was talking to an adult other than a parent in a restaurant. He was beyond cute. Marty asked him if he was here with his parents but no, he was there for a birthday party :) Wonder why Marty didn't get invited?

Once Stephen left I could not stop laughing. The whole situation with Marty starting Kung Fu and being in a class with 8 years old at the beginning (at least his friend Dave is also in there with him) and then to meet one of the classmates out - it was hilarious.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boring is as boring does

The lack of blogging is in direct correlation to the fact that I feel like I just don’t have a lot of interesting stuff to talk about. I’m still plugging away at the hundred pushup challenge, although after last nights I could barely swim this morning. I had to do sets of 18, 22, 16, 16, and at least 25. I’m glad no one was watching because I’m not sure I did full pushups at the end of some of those, and my 60 second break between the last round ended up being 10min. There is no way I’m going to finish this 6 week stint and be able to do 100 consecutive like the plan promises, but I figure I’m able to do way more than I ever have in my life so I can at least stick with sets of 15 or so after this is all done.

This weekend is Ironman Arizona and good luck to all those who have stuck it out this late in the season – wow! Marty has a few athletes racing and our friends Brooke and Nicolai will also be out there. Last year Brooke did IM Florida, was hit by a car at the beginning of the bike, waited and filed a police report, and still finished in a 10:43! Hopefully, she has some better luck this Sunday.

I gave Tassie a bath last night. See, I told you I got nothing go on…

Sunday, November 16, 2008


In a little bit, we'll be heading to downtown Raleigh for the Old Reliable 10K/5K. Marty's running the 10K and Tassie and I will be cheering from the sidelines. Tassie will be very excited to see people and will be wiggling everywhere, and then she'll probably get scared by a leaf that blows by. Such is life for her.

We've had a very nice low-key weekend here. Went out for dinner and drinks with my sister who had her dissertation for her PhD approved on Wednesday. And last night we went to a friend's house for stir fry and Outburst. Happy Birthday to my oldest (haha) sister Heather yesterday, Marty's mom today, and my mom this Friday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calf Strain!

I went to see an awesome massage therapist yesterday and he worked on me for 2 hrs! That was 2 hrs of pure pain – and it turns out he is pretty sure I strained my soleus and my Achilles is ok. I’m relieved about that because I know Achilles problems are not to be taken lightly and can last for a very long time. I’m not sure how exactly I strained the muscle but I do know that I’m very, very tight on my right side, which might explain some of the problems I’ve been having this year (which all happen to be on the right side). I’m planning on sneaking back a few times to get more massage when Marty’s not looking :) It seems I need a little help in taking care of this body that I’ve been abusing for a long time now.

I’m now in off-season running mode which means ‘no running’ since I need to let this muscle heal. He worked on it so deep that even last night just the lightest touch was painful. I’m all compression socked up at work but nobody knows since I’ll wear pants everyday. I try to get to swimming at least two times a week but I’m not so sure about biking right now. I rode the trainer the other night easy because I thought it wouldn’t hurt my leg but it was sore after. And now knowing that I have a muscle strain it makes sense. I think I’ll lay off the bike for a bit longer – there’s no point in hurting it more, and it’s only November so what type of training is really necessary?

My plan is to stretch more, strengthen more, and get a couple of more massages. Mom and dad – great Christmas gifts will be a few freebies! I didn’t really want a Garmin watch anyways.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Achilles Heel

This year has been a bit of a bust for me athletically, but luckily my self-worth does not depend on my athletic talent. I was thinking about this as I sat here filling out a form to take to a massage therapist I’m seeing in the morning. I’ve been having an achilles/calf problem for about a week. Of course, at first I thought it was nothing that a tiny bit of rest and ice couldn’t fix, but it turns out it’s still a problem. Enter massage person. Some of the questions on his 3 page docket (!)

What is your past experience with massage?
Have had many massages over the years but not regularly because my husband is cheap :)

What are your intentions or expectations for this visit?
For you to cure me, of course!

Past injuries or Accidents
Plantar fasciitis since collegiate running, but it has been very manageable over the years. Then earlier this year it hurt very bad and wasn’t going away and later it was diagnosed as a calcaneal stress fracture – although no bone scan or MRI was performed. Did not run for 8 weeks to let it heal. Prior to this NEVER ANY INJURIES!!! So this year has really stunk!

I then realized that those words were a bit over the top, because as a person this year has not stunk at all – just in my little triathlon world and the goals and ideas I had for myself. But as a year goes, this one has not ‘stunk’ at all - case in point:

I have a full time job and although I may not be in love with the work, it is a job that I’m lucky to have so I can bring home money and live a nice life with my husband.

I coached several people this year and had a great time doing it. I learned a lot, they learned a lot, and I’m hoping in the future I can build up my clients and do what I love.

Marty and I took several trips – skiing, Grand Canyon, Ashville, Florida several times, Outer Banks – we do love to travel.

I made friends with people out in blogland and even got to meet several of them. Yay for new friends!

We know lots of nice people up here in NC now, after our first year where we were both feeling maybe a bit low on the friend groups after moving away from all of our buddies in Orlando.

So those are just a few of the things I thought of immediately of why this year really didn’t stink. There are plenty more but who wants to read about why I love hanging out with Marty and how much fun we have together?

Anyways, it’s looking like at this point I’m not going to get to run the Philly Half Marathon anymore. I tried to run a bit yesterday and my leg hurt bad enough to walk a lot of it, and then was really hurting as I coached Master’s later that night. I’m not too upset about it honestly. I would’ve really liked the opportunity to run a flat out ½ marathon and see what type of time I could do, but I’m happy that I’ve been able to put forth some effort running and stay in shape with that goal in mind. So all is not lost. It did give me something to shoot for.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Colors

The leaves have changed and it's been really beautiful here in NC. Unfortunately, once the leaves change they then fall to the ground. It looks like Marty has a lot of raking in his future!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun Stuff

A Big Ol' Bitch Slap
Some of you may have read about the woman who had the fastest time at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, but wasn't awarded anything because she didn't race 'elite.' Now, we can argue back and forth on this one but that's not what I'm here to do. Read what Reebok did recently for her. Oh Snap!

"Remember Arien O'Connell? She was the elementary teacher from New York who had the fastest time at the Nike Women's Marathon, but wasn't awarded first place because she wasn't in the "elite" group.
Well, you probably saw this one coming. On Thursday, representatives from Reebok, Nike's arch-rival, surprised O'Connell with a special awards ceremony at her Beginning with Children Charter School in Brooklyn, New York.
Reebok presented O'Connell with the following: a trophy, a free pair of shoes every month for a year, T-shirts for everyone in her class, and a $2,500 donation to her school.
The inscription on the trophy? "Winner and Heroine of Non-Elite Runners Everywhere."
That sound you hear is Nike grinding its corporate teeth."
Link to story

Google is Cool
Sometimes when I want to daydream and reminisce about our trip around the world, I hit up google maps and look at their street view. I can go back to where we lived in Australia, or where we rode our bikes in Tasmania...I can waste a lot of time on there. Recently, the google map recorder van was in Pittsburgh and somehow people found out and staged some funny things that would be captured. Things like runners pretending to be in a race, a mad scientist, a parade and an Angaron Battle (whatever that is). Check out the street view here and a little write-up of the staged event here.

Tassie Thinks I'm a Chair
Here's Tassie sitting in my lap after I completed Week 2, Day 3 of the hundred pushup challenge. I'm doing it, but it's already become quite a struggle. Let's see how far I can go.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Boring Stuff

Not sure why there is a 'public service ad' from google at the top of my page!

Tomorrow Marty’s dad flies in to spend the weekend with us. It also happens to be Marty’s birthday on Saturday – the big 3-7! Oh my! This is the 9th birthday I’ve celebrated with him. It looks like this year we’ll be driving down to Myrtle Beach for a casino boat cruise. Should be fun.

Finally the election is over! I’m so glad we won’t be seeing all those nasty political ads (we had some whoppers between Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan). I have no idea why NC hasn’t been able to declare who won the presidential election yet in our state. Something about making sure people who voted were allowed to vote – uh, every other state was able to figure this out and get their tally in. What the heck is wrong? But it’s nothing new because Marty and I have already been in the debacle that was Florida with our hanging and pregnant chad’s. I guess we brought it with us.

I managed to make it to Master’s this morning. I take the off season seriously and if I don’t feel like doing something I don’t force myself to. There will be plenty of times next year to harden up and get to practice, but for now if I want to sleep I allow myself that privilege. The thing is, I really enjoy Master’s, so I’ll end up getting up more often than not. And on the pushup front, my last round yesterday ended with 15 consecutive! Not bad, eh?!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend Update

I have a lot say since it’s been very busy the past few days! We left after breakfast on Friday morning to make the 12 hour drive to Panama City Beach. We caught a bit of a break since the time changes in our favor on the way down and got in at around 7:45pm. And since this weekend was when we all turn our clocks back, we didn’t have to exactly lose that hour coming home – I’m really trying to put a positive spin on that long boring drive :) When I drove we listened to music and some Howard Stern. When Marty drove we listened to Bloomberg radio and Sirius Patriot which was full of right wing conservatives. These guys scream their fool head off and belittle their callers. My ‘favorite’ was this guy Andrew who would end up shouting at some of his callers: “I’m right, you’re wrong, end of story!!!” All very entertaining to say the least.

So we get into PCB and our friends who had so graciously allowed us to sleep on their pullout couch were heading to the Mellow Mushroom for dinner. We didn’t realize that they would be eating that late – if we had known we wouldn’t have eaten at the Burger King attached to a gas station an hour earlier. UGH. After hanging out and having a few beers our friends were in no mood to hit the sack so we all stayed up way late telling stories. Our condo was very convenient to the race site, but not so conducive to sleeping as it was right next to Spinnakers and Club LaVela…and they were both throwing big, loud Halloween parties. Now Marty fell asleep instantly and was snoring away in baby dreamland but I was not so lucky. It sounded like the band was on our balcony and I kept hearing someone on the mic yell “Let’s make some noise!!! Somebody SCREAM!!!” No exaggeration, the last time I looked at my watch it was 2:15am. The alarm was set for 5:30am. Oh dear.

We all got up at 5:30 except for Dear Husband who decided he would rather get some extra sleep than watch the swim start. Yes, he was the smartest but I was not going to miss the start and not see my athletes embark on their first Ironman. This was the 8th Ironman I have spectated (IM California, Duke Blue Devil, Great Floridian, IM Arizona (2 times), IM Hawaii, IM Florida (2 times)! And the swim start is always an amazing sight to see. I saw my girls and both had great swim times for themselves. Once they go off on the bike you have lots of time to do whatever you want since you don’t see them again until they start the run.

Fellow blogger Marit had driven over from Pensacola and we had tentatively planned on going for a run. I have never formally met Marit even though we’ve raced against each other a couple of times, but I feel like I know her through her blog and from exchanging a few emails. Our run was great and the conversation never stopped – it was so great to talk and get to know her better! Now she’s moving clear across the country to San Diego but I plan on visiting her there at some point (as I think a lot of people are planning on doing!) Even though we both proclaimed to be shy when first meeting people, you wouldn’t know it based off of the two of us together. I was going to run for 1:45 and tried to talk her into going that long with me but she was a good athlete and stuck to her own training plan and ran 1:15.

After Marty and I finished adding a little more time, we dipped our legs in the ocean which was, by the way, absolutely gorgeous!!! Beautiful colors, calm waters – so Florida. I love the Gulf. Since Marty had gotten decent sleep he got some lunch with our gang but I opted to try and relax and maybe catch some zzz’s before camping out on the run course. I was able to nap for about 30min, so that was at least something. I made my way out in front of the condo and we all set up our chairs and coolers to settle in for the remainder of the day.

Views from our room:

I love cheering for the athletes. I love that everyone wears their name on their number so you can yell just to them. A lot of people smile or even say thanks, and there are plenty who are so focused they don’t even acknowledge you. After cheering for hundreds and hundreds of people (and with it being a two loop course) you start to get a little loopy with your cheers. One guy ran by who’s name was ‘Alfredo’ so we were all, “All right, Alfredo! Keep it going! Stay tough!” .......“I love your sauce!” (groan!) Yes, we were that group.

Me and Christina cheering on the runners. I have to stoop way down so as not to look like Giant Woman next to her.

My girls did great! They both felt good (except for the last part of the run, but that’s kind of expected) and they finished with huge smiles on their faces. I teared up watching them finish because I know how hard they worked to get to that finish line. It was awesome. I don’t have any kids but I felt like I did on Saturday as I worried all day about how they were doing, feeling and hoping they were staying positive and enjoying the experience. Needless to say I was a wee bit exhausted that night.

Marty and I fell into our pullout couch and I had no trouble falling asleep this time around. We got up at 7:30 and briefly contemplated getting breakfast with our whole gang but realized this was going to be a big undertaking and we really needed to get on the road. We stopped at some greasy spoon on our way out of town before hitting the long road back up to NC. We were pretty much splitting the drive until the end when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Thank god for Marty! He is such a trooper for going down there with me and driving my tired butt back home. He’s the best.

I slept like a baby on Sunday night, skipped morning swim practice (which has become a habit I need to break to be honest!) and slept in. I felt much better after that. Then it was off to work, back home for a run, then coaching Master’s. Phew!!!