a Bri Gaal's Blog: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stick Fork In Me!

The past few days have been awesome! We could not have ordered in better weather and we're leaving right in time as a 'cold' front is coming through - although all of us are going back to yucky weather and temperatures. We've swum in the Gulf, had beautiful bike rides, and today we all did one of the Gasparilla runs. Actually, everyone did the 15K but me (haha, if there is a 5K option, I'm in!). Yesterday I tried to take it a bit easier, kind of because of the race but mostly because that was the 4th intense day of training and my body was revolting. We did a ride in the morning where my legs were feeling off, but then in the pool when my 100's were 10 seconds off of what I usually swim, I knew I was cooked! I cut it to 3K instead of the planned 4.5K. We all went to bed very early from being tired and because we had to get up at 4:30 for the races.

So the race! I've never run Gasparilla, even though I grew up here, so it was a new experience and I made some rookie mistakes - some avoidable and some unavoidable. The 15K started at 7:30 and since a few of our peeps hadn't registered yet, we got there at 6:15. From then until the start of my race I was standing or walking. It was neat to see Ryan Hall win (and by a huge margin). I was a little bit down from the start and thought, "Whoah, some dude already has a huge lead." Then it made sense when I saw who it was.

I saw my friend Katy finish 3rd in the 15K, then watched camper Brian and Marty finish before deciding I better follow the rest of the sheep to the starting corral for the 5K. It was a HUGE race, so I lined up at 9am to try and get somewhat near the front. Having to stand and walk for 3 hrs was kind of unavoidable, but I really wish I had known I had an elite number - because then I wouldn't have had to line up so early! Arghh. Luckily, someone pointed it out to me about 10min before the start, so at least I got closer to the start line.

I can't believe how fast people start! I couldn't go off too fast for many reasons (not much speed right now, tired legs, and little warmup!) but I was amazed at how many people I kept passing after the first mile. My splits according to the Garmin (I'm finally figuring this watch out) were 6:09, 6:06, 5:56, and my net time was just over 19min. I ran my way into 3rd before the girl I had just passed put on a huge kick near the finish and I didn't have any other gears. Plus, my achilles that was slightly annoying had turned into kind of painful so I didn't want to do anything stupid. What is with all these little things that are cropping up? Is it because I'm turning 30 this year? Hopefully, it's nothing.

Now we're all relaxing before dinner and a night on the town. We'll hopefully get one last bike ride in tomorrow morning before everyone heads off home. It's been another great camp.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Florida Training Camp

We're getting in lots of training time in the warm sun down here in St. Pete Beach! I had a good long run this morning followed by a 5K swim - OUCH! Off for an easy spin out at Fort DeSoto then dinner and probably bed. We're having a lot of fun and I'll post some pictures when I have more time. Adios!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Training Day

Yesterday morning we ran the Coach Bubba 4 mile run in Durham. I ran this race 2 years ago when I was in fantastic shape, but this year was more like "I can run comfortably again for extended periods of time in a tempo effort." Whatever that means, so I was going into this race as way to get a good effort in.

Alysia went out fast and we said bye to Marty who can hold sub 7 minute pace all day, but not much faster right now. Alysia was still about 5 seconds ahead of me at the first mile and she pulled me through to a 6:10 - whoah! Way faster than I had wanted to start off. But then I got into a good groove and only Joan Nesbit (former Olympian) finished ahead of me. My Garmin said I averaged 6:16 miles which is slightly faster than the official results because of starting a bit behind the start line and the course being a tad long. I'm real happy with this time even though it's over a minute slower than two years ago. This is off of one track workout and a couple of fartleks. I felt pretty strong although I didn't feel like I had a whole lot 'speed' yet.

For my efforts I got an ashtray.

Just kidding, it's a butter dish. I think.

Afterwards, the Gaal's and the Lovgren's hit up Elmo's Diner. YUM. Stuffed french toast and warm coffee hit the spot after the cold temps and hard run.

And THEN later on in the afternoon we met Alysia again for long steady ride, almost 3 hours. That is a pretty huge training day for me, and I'm a bit sore now from it!

It is dreary and cold right now, but tomorrow night I'll be on a jet plane to St. Pete! Can't wait for that!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Looks Can Be Deceiving

It's my tri-annual "I'm not fat, I'm fluffy!" before and after photos of Tassie getting groomed. We let her fur grow longer than normal, and she certainly looks cute with all that fluff, but with our trip to Florida we figured she needed a haircut (she's staying with some friends down there). I knew it was bad when my 4 year old niece said, "Marty! Tassie looks like a sheep!"

Marty also decided that it was time for Tassie to sport a mohawk. I'm not kidding. He wanted it down her entire backside, but the groomer put her foot down. I had no say in this matter! I thought he was joking when he brought it up and could not stop laughing when I got home and saw her.

Fluffy, mid-yawn:

How to lose weight in one day!

Side view of the mohawk:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breakin' the Law

Andrew said that locks were no excuse, and he works for NASA so I figured he knew what he was talking about. Although, I’m pretty sure we jumped a fence with him in Hawaii to get into an invitation only party at the Kona Brewery (we did not have invitations), but I digress. Yesterday evening I did a track workout! There were no less than 4 No Trespassing signs and another sign saying something about getting special permission from the Principal (oooh, scary). Marty and I went to a local elementary school because Aaron had told me he had never been kicked off, and I figured the chances of track practice for the kiddies were less than at a middle or high school. So we hopped the fence and ran on their cement track (beggars can’t be choosers).

We did 4x400 with a 200 jog in between, 1 mile at tempo pace, and then 4x400 again. My times were horrific compared to my old collegiate self but I was very happy to be running around the oval again. I’ll still do a lot of fartlek runs throughout the season, because I think they better simulate a race, but hitting the track now and then will be good.

Next week we’re headed to Florida for our camp in St. Pete Beach. The weather is looking mighty fine and I’m excited to train in the warm sunshine. We get a lot of sunshine here in NC, but it’s not always very warm. I want to sweat! It will also be nice to take some vacation from work; let’s just hope I have a job when I get back!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Someone's status on facebook yesterday said, "Happy VD! Hope everyone has a great one!" I think it might have been hastily written...but hopefully everyone did have a great Valentine's Day! I bought Marty some tasty brew which turned his stomach into a poison gas machine. To say it smelled bad would be a compliment. He bought me a mountain bike!

Well, actually, he bought me 37.5% of a mountain bike. The rest of it was contributed by Kathy Larkin (nicest lady in the world). And although the mountain bike is really sweet, I would much rather have had her at the camp next week instead.

It's used, but in great condition and since it's a Litespeed, it's going to last forever. We rode yesterday down the greenway into Umstead, then did the Turkey Creek loop and back home and I couldn't believe the difference! This thing may be lighter than my tri bike! But to be fair, I'm comparing it to my old mountain bike which was really just a cruiser bike pretending to look like a mountain bike. It was 15 years old and didn't even have clipless pedals. Marty almost threw his back out trying to put it on our roof rack last time because it's so heavy.

The 'new' mountain bike came with speed play pedals, and I've only ever used Look so these are taking me a bit to get used to. Even with the back brake rubbing the whole second half of the ride, I was able to keep up with Marty which was something that never happened before.

Today we had a nice ride to Chapel Hill and back with Alysia on our tri bikes. It was a bit chilly but the sun was shining and there were tons of cyclists out. 'Tis the season. Marty is feeling better on the bike and was cruising along while the two of us sucked his wheel mightily. It's good when he gets motivated because it forces me to go so much faster.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Random Musings

What is with the new thumbs up on everyone’s facebook status? I have enough trouble coming up something clever without worrying about if anyone is going to give me a thumbs up.

Sometimes I comment on people’s blog that I’ve never met. I know this is not unusual, but I get weirded out if I never hear from them. I assume they don’t like me and consider me a stalker. So then I never comment again.

I’m wearing a skirt my mom bought for me for Christmas in 2001. It fits fine but it sits at my belly button! Did I really wear things this high? It’s seems very awkward and uncomfortable to me.

I hate that no matter what time I go to bed, when the alarm goes off at 5:10am I feel so tired. I swear, I could’ve just gotten 12 hours of sleep but if it goes off that early I still think I need more.

Along those lines, it cracks me up when Tassie sleeps downstairs and just stares at me without lifting her head when we get up that early. She even seems to think it’s crazy.

The guy working the grill at our cafeteria today told me I looked beautiful today. English is his second language and I’m not sure he realizes that this could be deemed inappropriate by HR.

I really, really wish I could find a track I could do some workouts on. Most seem to be under lock and key and make you feel like you are going to get arrested for trespassing. Don’t my taxes fund schools? I haven’t done a track workout in 2 years now!

I like watching House Hunters on HGTV but do they really have to recap each house after every commercial break? I find this very annoying. Luckily, I usually watch the ones you can download on your tv and just skip through the recaps. This only makes the show about 15 minutes long, though.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Friend is Awesome

My friend Alysia, is amazing. Not only does she have a PhD in Genetics & Microbiology (really big brain), she finished 2nd overall at the Krispy Kreme challenge this past Saturday. For those of you who have never heard of this, here’s the deal:

1) Run 2 miles from the N.C. State belltower to the Krispy Kreme on Peace St. in Raleigh.
2) Eat one dozen doughnuts
3) Run 2 miles back to the belltower.
4) Do all of this in under one hour

It started back in 2004 with just 12 runners, and now has more than 4,000 participants (edit: 5,519 participants this year)! The event raised $35,000 for the NC Children’s Hospital.

Alysia said there was some confusion, especially with the girls, because not everyone eats all 12 doughnuts, so she didn’t even know she was 2nd until results were posted online. They do have a doughnut split, but there are so many people you really just have to trust people if they say they ate all of them. She definitely ate all 12, here are her stats:

1st 2 miles: 13:44 (6:52 pace, she said she took it pretty relaxed so she didn’t get to the doughnut station all out of breath)

Doughnut split: 10:44 (yes, that’s right, she ate 12 doughnuts in under 11min!)

2nd 2 miles: 15:30 (7:45 pace – mostly uphill and she said anytime she tried to run faster she started to feel those doughnuts coming back up!)

Here’s a funny FAQ on the website:

Am I allowed to throw up?
Okay, we can’t technically stop you from throwing up, and quite frankly,that’s just part of the race, but don’t MAKE yourself throw up. The real challenge is to keep all 12 down, so don’t cheat yourself.

Here’s Alysia last year practicing for the challenge at the NC State Fair eating a fried cheeseburger. Yuck. That’s her husband Jimmy on the right – the Krispy Kreme Challenge was his first race ever! And he successfully completed the entire event in under an hour (which is the cutoff for the competitive race). And Marty is on the left, apparently too grossed out to keep his eyes open.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beautiful Weather

The weather this weekend sure did help my not-so-sunny outlook from this past week. How can I feel sad when it's sunny and 70 degrees out? We rode in shorts and shortsleeve jerseys today - it was fantastic. January had been quite a cold month, so it's been nice to have a reprieve for a few days. Even tomorrow it will be in the mid-60's...nice.

It also helped that my mom came into town and we hosted an engagement party for my sister and her fiance last night. The cake was awesome, and Shana was nice enough to let me keep some leftovers. Which I'm eating right now, directly from the tupperware that it's in. Why dirty another dish?

Tassie definitely worked the room last night and got all sorts of love and treats. She's not as dumb as she looks ;)

Training is going pretty good. I am by no means anywhere near fast, but I'm putting in some good hours and my body is tired which is how it should be right now.

So that's about it. I'm getting ready to pack it in for the night, catch up on some Office episodes, and then hit the bed. Master's calls early in the morning.

And just so this post isn't SO boring, here are a few pictures from last night, stolen from my mom's facebook.

The delicious cake - yellow cake with chocolate frosting. My fave.

My sister Shana, and me. I know it's hard to tell, but no, we're not twins.

Shana, Scott and yours truly.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Blues

Sometimes I wish I could be as blindingly happy as our dog, Tassie. Everything is exciting for her: morning time, car rides, people coming to the door, squirrels, cookies, running…the list is endless. I’ve been kind of bummed for a few days, lots of things on my mind and having trouble smiling very much. Not my typical personality. We are going through a re-org at work so that brings a lot of uncertainty. Although I don’t think I’m going to lose my job, I also don’t quite know what my future holds or what the job will be like.

Everything will work out!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Update

This past weekend started off well with Alysia and I eating troughs of ice cream at Kilwin’s on Friday night. Saturday morning I ‘wimped’ out and rode the trainer inside. Marty and Jerry rode outside for 3hrs – Marty had all of his cycling clothes on and half of mine. He swears it was nice and I should’ve gone (not sure how since as just mentioned, he had on half of my stuff), but I just wasn’t into riding in a feels like temp of 25. Instead I rented the Sex and the City movie and had a solid 2.5hrs on the trainer. Then it was off to Virginia to start the birthday festivities of our niece Ashleigh. Heard many times this weekend: “It’s my birthday! I’m 4!”

We went to a Mexican restaurant (Abuelo’s) on Saturday night, where I have four words for you: Dulche de Leche Cheesecake. OH MY GOD – it was amazing! Just listen to the description – creamy cheesecake whipped with Mexican caramel and served with leche quemada, a sweetened milk sauce. If you hadn’t yet figured it out, I have a big sweet tooth (it’s hereditary).

Sunday morning we went ice skating and had the entire rink to ourselves for the first hour. It was great and Marty and I had never been ice skating together before. He said it was like the date when your 15 that he never had ;) For the little kids, you can rent these PVC pipe walkers now. Ashleigh grabbed on and was literally running across the ice. I wish they had those when I was a kid, but alas I learned the old fashioned way with lots of hard falls to the bum and head. All the adults did well and no owies until Marty tried to be smart and use one of the kid walkers and do some serious spins. A little blood and a trip to the bathroom to take care of it ensued.

Later it was time for cake and presents! Lots of both. Here are Shana, me and Ashleigh rocking the Dora party hats.
Then a little bit of guitar hero and then Marty and I could procrastinate no longer and headed to the Dismal Swamp for our long run. It wasn’t too dismal this time and we both felt pretty good and put in some good Z3-Z4 efforts in there. I’m feeling like a runner again! Yay! We were the last ones to exit the park and the ranger politely told us that for future reference, the park closes at sunset, and this means ALL of the park (we did a little cooldown past our car). I think what he really meant was, “Do you two imbeciles realize you are the only ones outside right now and the biggest sporting event in America is going to start soon and I want to get home and not wait for you idiots?!” Or something like that.

So we did our 3 hr drive back to NC while most of the rest of the country sat in front of their tv’s watching one of the best superbowl’s ever. I wish we were watching, too, with pizza and beer and all that other yummy stuff. But it did make for a very non-trafficky ride home at least.