a Bri Gaal's Blog: May 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

If you swim in the ocean, you're swimming with sharks

Hey, maybe it was a good thing the swim was cancelled at St. Anthony's!

9-foot bull shark caught off St. Petersburg Pier

I particularly like these two quotes:

  • "Though the shark had not been put on ice and was outdoors for hours after the kill, Lipert said he would offer the meat to relatives."

  • "Butch Ringelspaugh, curator of exhibits for the Pier Aquarium, estimated the shark weighed 350 to 500 pounds....Still, he noted the irony that the museum educates the public about the importance of protecting sharks."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Old Birthday Pictures

My mom brought up a TON of old pictures, and since I just posted pictures from my 30th birthday, I thought it would be fun to post some from my early birthday parties - no jello shots at these!

This was my second birthday. That's my sister Heather on the left and Shana on the right.

Birthday #3 in the same positions. Am I trying to steal some icing?!

Getting some help from Shana and my dad blowing out the candles on my 4th birthday (nice beard, dad!)

Opening presents on my 5th birthday.

And now are the 'pool party years.' Pretty much from here on out we had a pool party in our backyard for my birthday. Look at that bikini!! A little sexy for a 6 year old!

7th birthday, and this is what the next 5 or so years looked like. It looks like the girl in the back right corner is about ready to fall on her face. I wonder what happened. (I'm right in the front in the pink suit)

Our 2 hr masters practice went well this morning! It actually went by pretty quick and we didn't have any sets that were super hard, it was just long. We ended up doing some silly relays at the end (underwater which I suck at, one-arm and doggie paddle). I also still cannot dive in without getting water in my goggles. I am such a pretender at the pool!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Birthday Weekend Not Over Yet!

Yesterday morning when the alarm went off at 5 am, I said, "Who's idea was this?" Marty replied, "Uh, yours!" And so we were on our way to the Woodlake Triathlon in Vass, NC. It was so fun! A very grass roots triathlon: no splits, no chips, no bike number, no rack numbers...it didn't have any of the normal BIG triathlon stressors.

I ended up with a solid effort which was exactly what I was hoping for. I wasn't looking to kill myself but just wanted a good workout. Marty and I both got the overall titles and won really neat trophies.

We got home, gave Tassie a bath (she was pretty smelly from swimming in the lake post-race) and then got ready for the birthday party!

We have a lot of great friends and I had so much fun - I hope everyone else did, too! My friend Alysia made some delicious jello shots (with magic shell on top! only a pro makes a jello shot with magic shell!)

We didn't get to bed unti 1am, and even though I had big plans of sleeping in, 7am came and I was wide awake. Damn getting older and not being able to sleep in.

We got in a nice 35mile ride this morning and then lunch with fam, soon to be followed by dinner with the fam. Thank goodness tomorrow is a holiday so I can try and catch up with everything.

Here are some pictures from the party:

My good friends the Lovgren's and Tvermoes

Angela - you didn't look at the camera!

Marty and Jer-Bear!

Jello shots for the girls!

A very happy birthday!!


Friday, May 22, 2009


Big weekend ahead! Family flying in! Woodlake Triathlon tomorrow morning! Birthday party for me tomorrow night! Recuperating Sunday! 2 hr long course master's swim Monday! That's my real birthday! I'll be swimming in the water at the exact time I was born, probably wondering if I have ever swum that far!

I'm turning 30!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Here It Is!

As you may have noticed on my last post, we found the camera cord! Marty was hiding it in his computer case, funny guy.

So here is Tassie's latest trick. I will say that when I showed my sister she was dying laughing because:

1) Tassie has to be the laziest paw-giver ever
2) She said the ending was very anti-climatic

We're working on it!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

5 Year Anniversary Weekend

Marty had planned for us awhile ago to spend a long weekend in Asheville for our 5 year anniversary. We rented a cabin that also let us bring Tassie, which we very excited about. I had wanted to leave work early on Thursday but that didn't really happen so we didn't get into Asheville until after 9pm. It was raining and our cabin was off of a steep, dirt, mountain road - just to make the drive more fun. I closed my eyes as Marty eased our car up the pitch black road looking for our place. We finally found it after only a few missed turns and it was great to walk into a brightly lit cabin, music playing and the hot tub ready and waiting for us. It was on the covered deck and with the rain hitting the roof, it was a very relaxing way to end the day.

But before we left Marty gave me roses, a nice card, and the receipt (prices scratched out) for a new laptop! My current one is almost 4 years old, which in laptop years means it's a dinosaur. I'm very excited to get one that will be much faster.

Here's a view from our cabin.

The next morning we got up and found a great breakfast place that allows dogs. Actually, most places in Asheville (if they have an outdoor patio) welcomes dogs. Tassie loves going with us places and she travels great in the car but she can be SO skittish. She loves people and other dogs but those inanimate objects are completely scary to her. The tables, chairs and definitely the umbrella were all things that would make her quiver. She would calm down after a bit, but was always sitting or laying as close to one of us as possible. The chair thing, I'm sure, has to do with her little adventure last year when she ran through downtown with one attached to her leash.

And going for a little pee break. For Tassie, sicko!

Then we headed off to Maggie Valley to check out some cabins. One of our hopefully not too long term dreams is to have a little cabin in the mountains.

We tried to go for a mountain bike ride but Marty's chain broke before we got going, so instead we drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to find some hiking trails. The storms were rolling in and our hike quickly turned into a mad dash for our lives as the lightening was frighteningly close.

Storm rolling in.

The trail we barely got started on.

For dinner, the three of us went into downtown to the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. This was actually our real anniversary. And now I ask you, is a grilled chicken sandwich still healthy if it's covered in blue cheese? It sure did taste good (neither one of us had pizza for dinner, but they have a lot of other stuff on their menu).

We walked by the Friday night drum circle (there are a lot of hippies in Asheville):


And then I had to make a stop at the corner cupcake house! YUM!!

The next morning we got up early because Marty had found us a 4miler in the town of Fletcher, not too far away. It was mostly on wide trails, although parts of it were pretty muddy (just like old times in cross country!) It was a small, first time event called the retro run and they had a contest for the best costume (you were supposed to dress up like a 70's runner). Tassie came along with us, but she slept in the car which we parked in the shade for her. It wasn't too hot but it was pretty humid. There were also some pretty fast looking girls wearing racing flats and real running outfits. I looked grumpily at my heavy trainers I had on because I hadn't wanted to pack 2 pairs of running shoes. The guy yelled "Ready? Set? RACE!!" to start us which was...different. And as is typical, lots of girls were ahead of me. Marty started off well and he ended up pulling me out faster and into the lead by the first mile. I truthfully wasn't feeling all that great but concentrated on my form and tried to stay strong. The footing was tough and mile 3 was a crawl, but I rallied the last 1000 meters and won by about 40 seconds or so. It was long and I was SO SORE afterwards! I couldn't believe how sore! It was a fun little race and I won some nice trail socks and a running t-shirt from REI. The park the race was in was really nice, with a mountain creek right there and mountains off in the distance. We all enjoyed a little soak in the creek afterwards.

Post race cooldown with Tassie

Tassie dove head first into the creek.

After a quick shower, we were off to the Biltmore!

It was really neat. I had to keep reminding myself that people actually lived here, and it wasn't some Disney set. It got pretty warm in the afternoon and they set up fans throughout the house; you'd think with all that money the Vanderbilt's could've sprung for some AC ;) Seriously, it was pretty fascinating.

Here are the dorks on the audio tour (thanks for the suggestion Tim, it really was worth it):

Next we visited the gardens and the bass pond. Then we both overheated and complained a bunch until we got into the car with the ac blasting.

It really is crazy how much land this estate has:

Back into downtown Asheville for a great dinner and then we went right to bed after an exhausting day.

This morning we woke up to a light drizzle but we managed to get a nice ride in between showers. Marty had his chain replaced at a local bike shop and we went straight up the mountain near our cabin for about 35 minutes. The return trip down only took 10! It would've been nice to go further but we had to pack up and head on out. We had one last lunch in town and now we're home unpacking and cleaning up.

What a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This is HUGE

This is definitely a historic vote for this tobacco state:

We knew this was coming because a few years back it almost passed, and most new restaurants that open up are non-smoking anyways. It was tough to come from a state (Florida) that already had this in place and move into one where the hostess will ask you, "Smoking or non?" Even so, this is Big Tobacco's Kingdom so I'm sure they didn't go down without a fight.

This evening we're off to Asheville to celebrate our 5th Anniversary! Tassie is coming along, too - we're staying in a pet friendly cabin. We're also finally going to see what the Biltmore is all about. That's one of those places that everyone says you have to see but whenever Marty and I see the price we think, "Ahh, no thanks." I'll tell you if it's worth it or not.

Marty also found us a road race to do on Saturday morning. He is always scheming to find some sort of race whenever we go somewhere.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This and That

I have great video of Tassie doing her latest trick but we have been unable to locate the camera cord. Augh! Those things are so easy to misplace and it's driving me insane. I have found about 9 different cell phone chargers, all to cell phones that are no longer in use.

Don't worry, though, the trick isn't all that exciting. Good for our little puppy who Marty describes as "the cute, dumb, really nice blonde girl at your high school." She also likes to kiss boys AND girls. Tramp! :D

I'm super proud of Marty for pulling off a 3rd place in the Open division at White Lake sprint #2 this past Sunday. We had a good bike ride Saturday morning so it's not like he was all shaved and tapered. I may or may not have told him he needed to get his head out of his ass after his performance earlier this year at Azalea, so I'm happy he's starting to regain his fitness. Back in the day, he would crush his competition.

Sunday I met up with Kari for a nice run at Umstead. I may or may not have talked her ear off. The run went by super fast and we held a solid pace in the hills. Then I hit Trader Joe's thinking everyone would be at Mother's Day brunch, but no, that place was still packed. I don't think I've ever been there when it's not packed. I also had to wait in the corner for the clock to turn 12 so I could buy a six pack of beer for Marty. I felt like a lush and smiled proudly, hee hee.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Race Pics from White Lake

One of my athlete's boyfriends took some great* pictures from the White Lake Sprint.

*Great in the sense that they are fantastic action shots that you don't always get, but definitely not in the sense of "wow, you look so pretty!"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jordan Lake is Nice

Yesterday after I got home from work, Marty and I drove out almost to Pittsboro to meet up with some local triathletes for a run-swim-run. One of the guys lives out there and has a beautiful house about 3 miles away from a protected cove in Jordan Lake. Some people run down to the cove, swim, then run back, some do one of the runs and the swim and some just meet for the swim. We did the whole thing and it was fantastic! The water was beautiful and it’s nice to get some more open water practice. Most wore wetsuits, but you didn’t really need it after you got going (the temperature was probably in the low to mid 70’s on the top). It was so nice to sit in Marty’s draft (he wasn’t going very hard) and swim in a beautiful lake. On the run back we tried to pick it up a bit and I felt pretty good.

Once back at the house, there was food, drinks, and a hot tub to complete the evening.

So I actually swam twice – and I really can’t think if I’ve ever done that before. The swim at the lake wasn’t too long (less than a mile) but yeah, I totally did a double. Now if it would just stop storming in the evenings so I could actually get a good ride in…

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Riddle Me This

This morning was the typical master’s morning wake up – Tassie giving me kisses, Marty moaning about wanting to sleep, making coffee, singing the liverwurst song to Tassie…you know the usual shenanigans. We have a young guy who coaches Wednesday mornings so it gives Marty a chance to swim with others. Greg had written the main set on the whiteboard and it looked like this:


I read it and said to Eric, “I can’t figure out the pattern.” Eric said, “Oh, its 1-2, 1-2-3, uh, wait. I don’t know.”

Marty came over and I told him we didn’t get it. He looked at it and said, “Its 1-2, 1-2-3, hmmm, I don’t know.”

So we jumped in and began the long warm up and then the main set.

John, who always comes late, came late and jumped into my lane. He commented when we started the main set that he couldn’t quite figure out the pattern. I told him neither could anyone else (not sure why we didn’t ask Greg, but maybe because all of us ‘adults’ didn’t want to seem stupid.)

Then coming into the wall on our second to last 300, John exclaimed, “I got it!!!”

So, can you figure out this pattern? Because I sure couldn’t wrap my head around it at 5:45 this morning! It seemed like a complicated SAT question that just HAD to be wrong.

Time to flex those brain muscles!!


Easy as pie :) Now onto that long division problem I’ve been struggling with…

Sunday, May 3, 2009

White Lake Weekend

We're back from White Lake - what a fun weekend! Saturday I got to cheer for all the half competitors, hang out with friends, meet new people and relax in the room that we had right at race site. We had some of our girls from Florida up racing and it was nice to support them. Definitely a bummer for Marty, catching my bad cold and having to stop on the run. He has a good attitude about the whole thing but I know it just plain sucks to be sick and try to compete.

I have to be honest - I was very apprehensive about my own race. This past week I did very minimal training because I still wasn't feeling 100%. I was trying to balance working out a bit so as not to lose too much more fitness while also not pushing anything too hard which would just slow down my 'getting better' process. And I just wasn't sure how my body was going to respond to a race this weekend. My confidence had been shattered by how much it let me down at St. Anthony's. I know I was sick, but you just don't expect to feel THAT bad and then you start questioning your abilities and training and everything else. I swam twice this week and that was okay (in between coughing fits on the wall), rode my mountain bike twice for 45min and ran twice (but one of those was only for 10min). I can't say I felt all that strong on anything. But each day I was feeling better and better - still blowing my nose like it was a very leaky faucet and coughing a bit but definitely on the upward swing.

Okay lets get on with the race report already! The water was 75 and my sleeveless wetsuit felt great. I got off to a good start and the main pack of swim studs didn't leave me in their wake after 3 seconds like normal. Maybe more like 20 :) I rounded the first swim buoy and Amie and I were right next to each other. I breathe more to my left and she was breathing on her right so we were practically making out with each other, haha. I felt very smooth and in control so at the last buoy I decided to pick it up a notch and I dropped people! That so never happens to me but I really felt good in the water. I made it to the ladder and then started the long run to transition. I felt like a rock star with everyone cheering my name - thanks guys!

For probably the first time ever, Chris Tommerdahl was running her bike out when I was running up to the rack. I did the usual fumble-with-the-wetsuit-why-won't-you-get-off-my-ankles and was soon on my bike.

I didn't break any speed records on the bike, but I felt about 100 times better than I did at St. Anthony's so that was great! It was a bit windy in spots, like always at White Lake, but at least I could push the pedals this weekend.

Off the bike and I'm still in second. I head out onto the run and I just don't feel like myself at all. I don't have any spring and I could just not get going. I managed to hold onto second with a very bad 5K split (for me) of about 20:30ish. It's too be expected because I think running is the first thing to go when you have to take some time off and have been sick. I'm pretty sure that with a few workouts over the next couple of weeks I can get back down to where I was pre-St. Anthony's when I was feeling strong.

This was the Best of the US qualifier for North Carolina and Chris will once again be representing our state. Even though she's technically a pro, she's 23 which allows her to compete at the event. She'll do great out there and hopefully finish even better than she did last year.

So all in all I'm happy with how everything turned out. Thanks to everyone who cheered me on and gave me words of encouragement. And congrats to all finishers from both races!