a Bri Gaal's Blog: December 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here Come's 2009!

I'm back at work for 2.5 days before some more time off. I actually only have New Year's off, but who is really going to come in on Friday and how much work could possibly get done? Anyways, we are headed to Florida so I won't be anywhere near the office. I'm flying down tomorrow afternoon and Marty is driving down in the morning. If he doesn't drive like a grandpa and doesn't stop too much he will be arriving at the Orlando airport right in time to pick me up. The one way ticket to Orlando was pretty cheap and this way I don't have to burn too much vacation time. I'll drive back up with him on Sunday.
The big catalyst for us going down there was our friend Dan having a New Year's Eve party, and we haven't been to Orlando in over a year now so it's time to see our friend's and family there. Dan always throws great parties - in the past he had a very fun pimps n' ho's party and a homecoming (Marty and I were voted king and queen, awww, but I think that had more to do with the fact we were checking out a couple of weeks later and we got the 'going away and maybe never see them again vote').

In other news, I moved up to medium on guitar hero over the holiday. I only play when I'm up in Virginia, so I think I'm doing pretty good. I'm definitely glad we don't have one or I would never get anything done. Here's a picture of me and my niece playing - she's almost 4. They have a 'beginner' level on the World Tour where you only have to strum - she rocks! And she'll tell you that, too :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

Marty and I didn't have a Christmas tree and had big plans to buy a good one after Christmas so we could get a deal. We struck out today though, hitting two different Lowes, a Home Depot and a Target with NOTHING left. Bummer...until I went to Kroger to get some groceries and there it was! A 7.5 foot with lights for 50% off! Who would've thought Kroger?! We may be the only people in the world who just put up our Christmas tree. Ta da!

Christmas Catchup

We had a nice time celebrating with my family in Virginia over the past few days. Marty and I managed to get in two runs while we there - to try and balance out all the eating we did. We ran on the Virginia Beach boardwalk on Christmas morning and I was able to sniff out some trails for us the next day (trails are hard to come by up there). Yesterday we bummed around after driving home and then watched FSU slaughter Wisconsin in their bowl game. And today we got in a nice 2 hr ride in short sleeves. Every warm day in the winter just means one less cold one, right?

After our healthy ride, we decided to head to a local pizza place (Brooklyn Brothers) where we stuffed ourselves with garlic knots and sausage pizza. They have a couple of tables outside so we decided to take Tassie with us since she loves going with us anywhere. I tied her to my chair and watched her shiver, shake and keep her tail between her legs the entire time. I guess Chair-Gate 08 really left an impression on her - it was pitiful and although we thought we should make her stay the course so she could get past her demons, we caved pretty quickly and put her back in the car (where she proceeded to fall asleep).

Anyways, here are a few pictures from the holidays.
That's me in between my two sisters, my mom, and my two nieces.

The Gaal's (Tassie is a very sloppy-sitter)

And this is what she looked like Christmas morning after playing and rolling around in the mud.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Warm Christmas!

We're back in Virginia to celebrate Christmas with my family (mom flew up, Shana, me and Marty drove from NC) and Heather/Sean and cute nieces are all here! This is the 3rd Christmas we've celebrated up here - all previous have been in Florida where I swear every year it hit 80 degrees. Well, we're almost there now! Not quite, but I am in a short sleeve t-shirt -- love it :)

I got through a head/chest cold rather quickly the past two days. I'm feeling great right now, but there were about 18 hours in there where I was not so great. I have a little raspy voice and a bit of a leftover cough, but all in all, I will take a cold like this over any other! Marty is about a day behind me, but he is feeling good again. We had a fun Master's swim this morning (the 8 days of Christmas set - we only had an hour this morning so couldn't fit in all 12). I thought the turnout would be low, but with some visiting Master's swimmers and people who were staying in town for the holidays we had a good group.

I hope you all have been nice this year and get all sorts of goodies tomorrow morning!

Friday, December 19, 2008

You know it's time for some new suits when...

I typically wear the same suit every morning at practice. A navy blue speedo endurance with light blue piping. I am such a fasion-ista, I said piping. Anyways, this suit is awesome because chlorine is nothing to it – it has lasted forever…it might be going on a year by now and there aren’t any signs of wear. The only thing I don’t like about it is it will occasionally chafe me under my arm. I actually have a faint scar from all the times I have just swum through it. This only seems to happen when it’s very cold and dry outside – the WORST times of the year in my opinion. Again, anyways these suits are expensive but we get a sweet discount at Inside Out and it is SO worth the money since it lasts so long. But this morning I realized I may need to switch up the wardrobe a bit.

I do have another suit – it’s purple and swirly and is nice, I don’t actually know why I don’t wear it more often but this morning I put it on and no less than TWO guys at master’s commented about my new suit. Hello! GUYS!!! And that’s not even counting Marty who said something immediately to me PRE-COFFEE!!! If those aren’t glaring red flags that I need to wear a bit more suits I don’t know what else is. I do have one splish that ‘the nicest lady in the world’ sent to me, but I have yet to wear it to Master’s practice, although I’m sure everyone would get a good laugh out of it (it’s the ‘Who Rocks? I Rock’ swimsuit). That one has only been reserved for times when I know the pool was empty ;)

We’re driving up to Va this afternoon; Dad’s flying up to my sister’s house to do a bit of pre-Christmas celebrating. Then we’re back in NC for a few days before going BACK up there on Christmas eve for a couple of more days. I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family – never a dull moment, that’s for sure ;)

Dan told me today that I looked like a real swimmer in the water. He hadn’t swum with us in awhile and this is a huge compliment! I swam my next interval extra fast still beaming about it. Then I pooped out and was happy we only had one more to go!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dreaming of 2006

3 years ago we were busy packing up our life in Orlando and heading for parts unknown throughout the world. I find myself daydreaming of that time right now.

Instead, this is what I may end up doing:

Christmas vacation is just around the corner...thank goodness!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catching Up

I made all the morning Master's practice for the past two weeks! This is a huge deal to me, and if I go back another week I've actually made the past 8 in a row. I know that for a lot of you missing workouts just isn't an option, but sometimes the early morning can be hard for me. I don't always sleep very well (more like I have A LOT of trouble falling asleep) so if I know I'm going to get only 5 hours, I just can't get in the workout and be productive at work. Many people survive off of 5-6 hours, but I'm just not one of them. Luckily, with a little help recently I've been falling asleep better. Not always great and sometimes I still have bad nights, but better than the recent past. It's still only 3 mornings a week, but I have never been that consistent with my swimming. I'm really enjoying it, though.

Last night we went to a Christmas party hosted by Nas - you couldn't swing a small stick without hitting a triathlete, haha. It was fun to catch up with a lot of people and to meet some new ones. We played a white elephant gift exchange and I had no less than 5 great gifts stolen from me!

And this morning Marty ran in a Jingle Bell run at Bond Park. I was going to run it, but decided I didn't want to spend the $25 to just run for fun. So Tassie and I cheered everyone on again - we're getting quite good at this, but it's definitely not something I want to continue doing! The morning was sunny and crisp and while I was waiting for the runners to come out of the woods, standing on a hill, watching kids bundled up in scarfs and mittens roll down the hill, dogs and parents milling around, I just absolutely felt so much goodness and was so happy to be right there at that exact moment.

It might also have been Journey song playing in the background: "Don't stop....believin'!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Update and Stuff

We took a short trip to Charlotte to visit the in-laws this past weekend. Marty's sister Anna, her husband and baby were visiting husbands sister so we crashed on in and they were gracious enough to host us. Such a nice family and so welcoming. We had a nice time hanging out with Anna and Tim and even had his sister come and get us from the bar later on that night - what fun!

I'm getting back into training again, it's nice to have a schedule. I have to hound my coach since I'm not a 'paying' customer, but he usually comes through :) I have set a new pr in the 400 yard free, heehee. You know you are a pretender when you set pr's in the middle of master's practice!

Also, if anyone in the Triangle area is interested in coaching a kids summer swim league, let me know. One of my clients emailed me and said her neighborhood (very west Cary) is looking for a coach. The season runs from mid/late-May to the end of July. I think they are looking for a head coach, an assistant head coach and two assistants - all paid positions.

Time to climb on the trainer for a short bit. Even though it was in the 60's today, by the time I got home from work it was dark. Grrrrr.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tassie's Bad Habits

She doesn't have many, but Tassie showed us two of her bad habits yesterday. The first: she loves to chew up paper - typically a coupon or a napkin. She tears it neatly and leaves it in a close pile. When I see it I do the typical, "Tassie, what did you do?!" and she will then lower her head and slink out of the room. But seriously, how can I be mad at something like this? Marty is convinced that someday she's going to leave us a message with the scraps.

Her other bad habit is begging - for beer. She doesn't beg for food, I guess because we've never given her people food before, but she is also one of the few dogs who isn't food motivated. We make her sit while we put her food into her bowl and once we're done we'll say, "Okay, Tassie, you can eat now," and she'll often times continue sitting and just look at us. The other day Marty left half a pizza on the stove while we went out, and the entire thing was sitting there when we got back. It just doesn't occur to her that she could've easily eaten that. Or maybe she doesn't like pizza? Anyways, we all know Marty is a beer-lover and he gives her a finger of foam from a poured beer. And okay, the end of the bottle sometimes, too. Now what she does is lay her head down on the couch and stare into his eyes. Once he makes eye contact with her, she'll then look at his beer. He can't resist her cute, wiley ways.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Racing Next Year

I don't have a complete schedule of races I'll do next year, but I have the big ones picked out. In between these I'll probably jump in some local sprints that don't need a year in advance notice. So here's how it's shaping up:

  • Some early sprint: possibly the Smithfield sprint I did last year in Virginia. Free place to stay (I'm assuming anyways...Heather?) and it starts at 10 am. Now what other triathlon starts that late? I'm just hoping it's not in the low 40's and windy like this past year
  • St. Anthony's - Always got to get down to the hometown race. It's always hot with great competition. Love it. Even though it's a fast course, it can be a sufferfest out there on the run!
  • White Lake Sprint - the first weekend. They are having two back to back weekends for the White Lake Half and Sprint races. The sprint race has typically been the qualifier for BOUS and I'm hoping the first weekend still is. I'm not trying to qualify (that would be one expensive jaunt to California!), but know if it is the qualifier the race will have better competition. The other weekend my sister is graduating from UNC Chapel Hill with her PhD in Human Movement Science. Slightly more important than a sprint race!
  • Philadelphia Olympic - This should be fun. I found out we were doing this one at breakfast last Friday. I had asked Beth what her race schedule was looking like and when she said she was doing Philly, Marty interjected "So are we!" I then turned to him to say, "Uh, we are? Were you going to let me know?" Good thing that came up because it was quickly selling out.
  • After that, I don't know. Maybe USAT Nationals since it's kind of driving distance (9.5hrs)?

There you have it. Scintillating, I know.

As you were.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jogging Through the Neighborhood

Two runs down and no calf pain - not that I thought there would be since I did everything right and took ample time off. The other good thing is I don't actually feel too out of shape. I think I had gotten into pretty good shape training for the Philly half, so a couple of weeks off didn't hurt me too bad. I can tell my endurance is down, but I don't feel like I'm falling all over myself like I do sometimes after an extended break.

We ran with the Inside Out group tonight - Tassie came along. She's the worst pacer ever and always wants to be in the lead, even if her tongue is dragging on the sidewalk. Marty tried to slow her down at the end because she seemed so tired but the second she had runners ahead of her all bets were off. Under any other circumstance I think I would have been scared of an animal heavily breathing immediately behind me. One of the guys also suggested we put a bumper sticker on her that says, "Makes Sudden Stops" after nearly getting clotheslined for the second time.


Off to watch The Office & 30 Rock on the DVR from last week. Can't stay up that late on Thursday nights.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fishy Fishy

This morning as I was walking out the door at 5:30 Marty said, “You are going to hate the workout.” Just what you want to hear, bleary-eyed on your way to the pool! It’s a good thing Marty never tells me the workout beforehand. I hear it the same as everyone else, on the wall right before we set off.

For the past 2 months I have been swimming very sporadically. It’s the off season and I was letting myself sleep in if I wanted to. In October I had several weeks of zero swimming, but that slowly moved to at least once a week and in November I even had a few twice a weeks in there. December 1 was my date to get back into a training groove instead of the whatever-I-feel-like groove I had been in. So in the water with everyone else, Marty announces the set after some warmup/drills/builds: “1,000 for time.” I think all of us thought we had misheard him…what?! “Yup, 1,000 for time,” then he went into an explanation of why this is a good benchmark set while we all hung on the wall trying to quickly wrap our minds around it.

Anyways, I had no idea what I could do with my recent lack of swimming, but realized my swim has improved over the year so hopefully some of that fitness still remained. Off I went, was able to keep count, and touched the wall in 13:30 after a solid but not all out effort. It took me about a 25 easy after to calculate what that pace was per 100 (my brain was a bit fuzzy - 1:21) and when I realized, I was stoked! I didn’t do a 1,000 test set last year but I would bet money that it would not have been 1:21 pace at this point in time. It’s fun to see improvement! After the 1,000 we then did some 400’s descending – tough workout this morning!

After work I’m planning on running for the first time in several weeks. Just 20min, but I’m excited to get back out there. I’m ready to start training again and looking forward to next year’s races.

I had to do a little editing on the comic below - erase the cigarette because of course Marty doesn't smoke. Also, Marty is much more fit than this guy, but this is what he does when we don't get in quick enough. Just kidding :)