a Bri Gaal's Blog: April 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Snot Funny

Here's a professional picture of me from asiorders at the race this past weekend blowing my nose into my hand. I did this about 72 times over the course of the bike, so I'm not surprised they caught me on film. Good thing it's not a close up. (also, the building behind me is where Marty and I got married almost 5 years ago!)

We ran today at Umstead and I felt human again! We did a little tempo and all is not lost. Hopefully, all is not lost on the bike either. I know logically it shouldn't be, but my fragile confidence has all been blown (out the nose apparently). Just kidding, I'm not that fragile.

And now it's almost White Lake weekend! This is a popular triathlon with a half and a sprint. It's so popular that they actually have two weekends this year. I was quick to the trigger and got into one of the few lodge rooms right at the race site. It will be fun to cheer on everyone Saturday during the half, and then hopefully feel good on Sunday for my race. That's all I'm hoping for right now - I just want to feel good and have fun!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Maybe I have swine flu? "The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) "

Thanks to Chris T. for getting this into my head!

Last night Maija came over and went with us to the worker bees and pro party held at a local bar and grill in downtown. We had fun getting to know her better and she had fun giving Tassie all sorts of love at the house. I think she enjoyed meeting Tassie the most out of all of us ;)

For once I was nice to myself and didn't take the first flight out of Tampa this morning. I was on the much more humane 11am flight instead. My sister picked me up, fed me some lunch and then I was off to work. My head is still pretty plugged up but I need to get better pronto because not only do I have another race this weekend but work is shaping up to being extremely busy over the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone who gave me kind words of encouragement. There's not much to do but move on! Getting sick was just bad timing but it's part of life.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Bust

So, where to begin?

Friday I was still convincing myself that everything that was making me feel cruddy was related to allergies and when I stepped off that plane in Florida I would feel a whole lot better.  That definitely didn't happen. 

I did sit next to two nudists on my plane flight - I know this because the guy had his desktop picture of him and the lady naked on the beach (and let's just say, they were not fit) then I was nosy and read some of his email which was all about traveling with other nudists.  About halfway through the flight my ears completely clogged up and the pressure was unbelievable. I didn't dare clear them because last time I did that I fainted. 

Saturday I woke up all congested and stuffy. I still was telling myself that I still had a full day to rest up and feel great. We went for a jog where I felt so faint I had to sit down after 15 minutes. It's okay! I will be fine! Tassie also ran into a parked car, but that's a story for another day.

I took a nap, sat on the couch and loaded up on all sorts of vitamins. No worries!

We went out to dinner with some athletes and I tried to get some food in. Unfortunately, all week it's been difficult for me to get much down with how my stomach had been feeling. My dad's super special milkshakes went down nice and easy so I thought that would do the trick.

Anytime I woke up in the night before the race I yelled in my head, "You feel great!" But when I got up, I unfortunately didn't. In fact, I still felt really nauseous and dizzy. I made a pact that if I warmed up and felt like shit I wasn't going to put myself through this.

Then my dad called and said that it wasn't official yet but they were probably going to be canceling the swim. The kayakers couldn't even get in the water and the Bay was one big washing machine. 

Now, people can debate all they want whether this was the right decision or not, but at the end of the day we all want race organizations to keep our safety first, and they definitely did that today.

Since the swim was cancelled I didn't feel as much pressure and decided to go through with the bike and see how I felt. In the meantime, it was fun hanging out with Ashley and Cara trying to figure out what the heck we were doing and how all the logistics were going to work out. It was also funny seeing guys peeing over the edge of the seawall when we were all lined up and girls sitting down on the grass (we have it so much harder!)

They started us 2 seconds apart and you just ran to your bike and out the exit. So it was just a bike and run, not a run-bike-run format. From the start of the bike I decided to give it my best effort and today that effort was pretty freaking sucky. I felt like I didn't have any power at all. People were passing me like I was standing still. It was all very disappointing and by mile 20 I knew I needed to pull the plug and just call it a day. I felt like shit and I wasn't having any fun. And at the end of the day, no matter how competitive I may be and how hard I may work, if I'm not having fun I'm not going to do it. 

I turned in my chip and cheered for everyone else. The pro women's race was just finishing up and it was a good one! The pro's did get to do the swim - I guess they are more experienced and there's a lot less of them.

Afterwards I hung out with Maija, Chris and Cara for awhile. I finally found Marty and he drank some beers but I think he could tell I was feeling pretty ill still, so we headed out of there pretty quick.

I know I made the right decision but it's just such a bummer. If I had tried to run that 10K I would've been miserable and probably dug myself a deeper hole from which to get healthy. You think, but it's just a cold! How can it be that bad? I have no idea - I thought the same thing. It's crazy how weak I felt from it all.

Such is life! There are plenty of other races and I will be back!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Devil

For most of this week, I have been battling demons. They are pure evil and my absolute numero uno enemy. They leave me unable to breathe, sickly, utterly exhausted and shatter my athletic confidence. Say hello to the cause of all of my heartache – tree allergens.

These little buggers are everywhere right now. It feels like I have a nasty cold – complete with sneezing, drippy nose, sore throat and sour stomach (let me tell you, I am a joy to my coworkers right now), but I’m pretty sure it’s just allergies.

Just allergies. I know it sounds like no big deal, but believe me, it is a big deal. My body is busy fighting all of it and I’m left bleary eyed and wondering how I will fare at St. Anthony’s.

Oh the horror, my A race right around the corner and I feel like a big pile of poo. DANGIT!!! I still have hope that when I land in my home state tonight my breathing will clear up and I’ll magically feel better. I’ll forget my past week’s runs where I sludged along like a person who had never seen the light of day and remember the ones where I felt like I was floating. I’ll remember what it feels like to ride outside which is something I haven’t done in almost 2 weeks due to life happening.

Perhaps I have also felt like junk because mixed in with this annoying must-have ability (the need to BREATHE) has been the dreaded taper.

It’s time to screw the head on straight and say screw you to everything else in my way. It’s time to have some fun!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quit Yer Complainin'

I was going to write a post all wah wah, woe is me, nothing is going right blah blah blah but then decided against it.

I hope everyone has a great night!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Noon is the time I finally got out of bed this morning - hello, I'm an angst filled teenager who gets up when half the day is gone.

Or I'm a bachelorette party survivor!

We threw my sister, Shana, her bridal shower on Saturday afternoon and then later on several of us met up at her place to begin the bachelorette festivities. Several jello shots later we were on our way down to the dueling piano bar in downtown Raleigh. Shana was a good sport and got most items crossed off of her 'bachelorette to-do list'. We hit several more bars, all felt like we had smoked a pack of cigarettes (fingers tightly crossed that the smoking ban passes here, it's in the Senate right now or something) and talked to some very interesting characters throughout the night. Incidentally, did you know that if I ever try ice-fishing I will LOVE it? Neither did I, but an RDU air traffic controller orginally from northern Minnesota was very sure of that.

I arrived home at the late (or is it early?) hour of 3:30am.

It was a very fun night out for sure. Most times when Marty and I go out, we get a couple of beers and are in bed before 11pm. But you can't always sit on the sidelines and let life pass you by! Cheers!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mid Week Boring Update

Work has been kicking my butt. The National Institute of Health (one of our biggest clients) received over $10 billion in stimulus funding, so scientists everywhere are frantically writing research grants to try and gobble some of this money up. As a financial analyst, I’m putting together the cost part of these proposals and it all needs to be DONE RIGHT NOW! I am a list person and like to have things thought out and well-planned and getting information at the last second for a deadline that was 10 minutes ago doesn’t sit well with my stomach or stress level. Yesterday I ran off my stress with a solid 9 miles.

My run and swim are both feeling pretty good right now, but I’m always a little less confident in my bike. It’s hard to get in many miles during the week and I seem to go into most races feeling under prepared. I do feel stronger than I did last year at this time overall so I’m hoping for another top 10 finish in the elite division at St. Anthony’s. We’ll see, that race always brings out the best in people.

Marty is down visiting his dad in Miami right now – they are doing very important things like gambling and fishing. My mom and nieces came into town yesterday for sister Shana’s birthday and her bridal shower on Saturday. And Saturday night is her bachelorette party. Busy and fun times for sure!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Late Nights

I think tonight I will be hitting the bed very early. I'm sitting on our couch at the moment watching the Masters and enjoying having my feet up. No, I didn't have a big training weekend or anything - just too much late night fun and I'm tired!

Our friend Dan was visiting from Orlando and we had to show him a good time. We had to take him to The Flying Saucer first on Friday night, then we went to a new brewpub in downtown Raleigh called The Boylon Bridge Brew Pub. Good stuff, and only one broken glass throughout the night.

Up the next morning for a big mess of a breakfast and then Marty and I managed to get out for a bike ride. It was a nice day but we were both not feeling it and went rather slow. We did help a wayward NC State student find his way back to campus after getting turned around near Jordan Lake. Then later that night we met up with another friend who moved here from Florida in downtown Durham at a fun Irish pub. The night ended way late - I don't think I've been up this late since New Year's Eve -- yikes!

We made our own messy breakfast this morning since we figured most good places would either be closed or packed with the Easter crowd. We took Dan to Umstead for a run so he could see the slice of heaven we have here (he ran at Cornell and can still throw down some good times when he feels like it). Wow, what a gorgeous day for a run!

I hope all the locals caught the nice article we had in the paper this morning about the open water swim series we're putting on. If not, here's a link to the online version. Local triathletes Tim and Angela Gautrea had their own pictures in it.

And lastly, a HUGE thanks goes out to the Luter Family YMCA in Smithfield, Va. After the race last weekend I took a shower and forgot I had hung my brand new race shorts and sports bra on a hook. I didn't remember until we were back in NC and I was unpacking my bag. The people there were so nice and found my clothes and mailed them right to me - I told them I could at least pay for postage or something and they said they were more than happy to help me out and were glad that I had a made the trip up there to race. Thanks!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We've Been Pollinated

It's that time of year here in NC, where yellow pollen is everywhere. We got back from Virginia on Sunday afternoon and it had literally exploded. There's fine yellow dust on everything, and it collects all over the place. It looks like the city has been chalked with yellow.

Luckily, it rained hard on Monday which helped to diffuse some of the pollen in the air. Unluckily, it got cold and for like the 8th time this spring I said, "This BETTER be the last cold front!" The only good thing I can think of is it was also cold down in Florida making a wetsuit swim a good chance for St. Anthony's - yay!

I meant to do the Inside Out bike ride on Tuesday, but I wimped out because of the weather. It was going to be in the 40/50's and I just wasn't into it. Instead I killed myself on the trainer watching Rush Hour 2.

It's been a busy week - very busy at work and I'm trying to get all of my workouts in while keeping the house semi-clean since we have company this weekend all the while having two doodles around. Yup, dogsitting again and instead of yelling at Cider to stop sleeping on our couch, I've resorted to putting towels down since I know that's where she goes at night. It's hard to get a dog to understand our house rules when she's there so infrequently. Marty and I were both adamant about keeping Tassie off of all furniture, and she was so trainable it's never been an issue. There's just something about not wanting to lay on the couch when I know some dog's butt may have just been there.

And then this morning I had, ahem, an appointment. It went pretty well, but boy was I tired trying to get everything done at work immediately after. Not totally ideal for the recovery, but what are you going do?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Smithfield Race Report

Marty and I raced in the Smithfield sprint triathlon this past weekend. I’m almost embarrassed to write a race report about it after reading everyone’s Oceanside and New Orleans adventures! This was just a tiny, short sprint in Virginia. Still fun and I had a pretty good day out there, so here goes.

This sprint starts at the humane time of 10:00am, so you don’t have to get up god-awful early. And unlike last year, the day was going to shape up to be pretty nice. Chilly in the morning (and very windy!) but clear blue skies and SUN! There weren’t any pre-race antics to speak of so let’s move to the swim.

The Virginia Triathlon Series does not have an Open division this year so my time only got me seeded as 30th. It seemed that most girls were pretty honest with the swim times they entered and a lot of guys weren’t. Which is why Marty, who ended up having the fastest swim by almost 30 seconds, didn’t go until 13th. It only occurred to me this year that the pool we swam in was a 25 meter pool, not yards! Last year I remember being kind of mad about my swim time, but now I know why. I caught the guy who started in front of me after 100 meters but other than that it was uneventful. I went 10 seconds faster this year, but that could’ve been because I wore my PointZero :)

I was in and out of transition super quick, listening to my own personal cheering section the entire time. I was 44 seconds faster this year because no extra gear was needed this time around. It was cold at the start of the bike but I warmed up fine. It was also very windy, and I was regretting my decision to use my disc as I was getting blown all over the place. The good thing about starting further back was getting to pass a bunch of people on the bike. This made the ride go very fast and the huge tailwind coming home was fun! Towards the end of the bike I saw someone who had obviously flatted and was very carefully riding their bike in. And then I saw who it was --- Marty! What a bummer. Overall I went almost 2 minutes faster this year – I’m stoked about that!!

Off the bike and I hear my cheering section again giving me splits, telling me I’m in first or close to it but that doesn’t mean I don’t need to run hard (thanks, dad, because I was considering just loafing!). I pushed the run and felt okay until the last ½ mile when I acquired the worst side stitch ever. I hardly ever get these and it was truly debilitating! I grimaced the rest of the way in and couldn’t push it too hard at the end. My run was about 30 seconds slower than last year :(

Overall, I ended up in first place and was about 2:30 faster than 2008, so I’ll take it! I beat Marty, but that was totally on a technicality and I think he would’ve done quite well if his wheel hadn’t rotted off. Below are some great action shots my sister took.

That night we watched a lot of basketball, stuffed ourselves with lasagna and cake and slept like logs. The next day we had brunch in historic Williamsburg before heading home from another successful weekend.

Great job to everyone else who raced this weekend – it was a lot of fun to track people and see the awesome results!

I don't care what USAT says, I'm still 29!

Part of our cheering section

Heading off for the bike

Marty and his flat

Amost done!

Sporting our new OSB gear post race

Me and my sisters

Marty and I hanging out with Thomas Jefferson on Sunday

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Anyone Need Some Ham?

It’s been a busy few days. First, on Sunday, Marty and I had a lovely ride to Chapel Hill and back (with a pitstop at Café Carolina). It was a nice warm, sunny day – windy but I ain’t complaining since I was out in shorts and short sleeves! Monday and Tuesday were filled with a work Finance Conference. Don’t worry; I won’t be going into detail of any of that!

This week we’re off to Smithfield, Virginia:

Smithfield is not far from my sister Heather’s house, and Setup puts on a sprint race there. I did it last year and this year Marty is racing, out to get his revenge on me from the butt-whuppin’ I gave him at Azalea. My dad is flying up for the weekend and Shana’s fiancé will also be racing. The 10am start time is nice! There isn’t an Open division, so I’m hoping my swim time gets me somewhere close to the front (it’s another 300 yard zig-zag pool swim). One things for sure, the weather is looking better than it was last year – which was 40 degrees and windy!

And thus starts our nonstop weekend busyness. Next week our good friend from Orlando, Dan is up for a visit. The following is my sister’s bridal shower/bachelorette party. Then St. Anthony’s. Then it’s the White Lake Sprint. A weekend off, then Marty and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary in Asheville (with Tassie, of course!). The weekend after that is a small triathlon on Saturday followed by BRI’S 30th BIRTHDAY BASH!!! Wahoo! And the weekend after that is ANOTHER sprint race in Virginia! Anyone want to come over and do our laundry and some cleaning over the next few weeks?