a Bri Gaal's Blog: July 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Loooooong Bike

Night in Venice was very fun to watch! There were big boats, small boats, some that put a lot of effort into their decorations and some that didn't. The most popular themes were Bernie Madoff, the Phillies, and Michael Jackson. Here's a sampling:





video

Yesterday morning Marty and I rode our bikes from the condo we're renting south to Cape May. We had a pretty good headwind all the way (which was a-okay with me since I just sit on Marty's back wheel!). The only bad thing about our route are the many stops we run into in the more crowded areas. We finally made it into Cape May and had a delicious breakfast before making our way back to OC - round trip 70 miles! For those that know me well realize how long this is for me :)

So in North Carolina cyclists give a little wave to each other out on the roads. It's become a habit of mine now, too. I didn't even realize how much of a habit until yesterday where after the 5th open mouth stare I got in return, I figured out people don't do the friendly wave to each other here.

Here's Marty stuffing his face with an omelet.



I really was not wanting my picture taken - is it possible to look grosser than mid ride with sand/dirt/sweat all over you?


On our way back we made one more stop for some water ice, which is New Jersey's name for Italian Ice or slushy.

Last night we decided to act like a couple of tourists (or shoobs/shoobies as the locals call them) and head up to the boardwalk. We didn't make it on any rides (yet).



Mmmmmm, gelato.


Lucy the Elephant


This morning we did a little run to the beach, a 30min open water swim and then ran home. The water was (of course) a little chillier than what I like, but I got in quick because Marty had started duck diving through the waves and I didn't want to be left behind. There is something about being 50-100m off shore that makes me start to freak out a bit, but I managed okay. Plus, Marty went easy and stopped for me frequently so he was never too far ahead. It wasn't too rough out there, either, just some basic rolly swells - not that I ever swim in anything like that anymore in races. But if I ever happen to I will be ready!

In a little while we're heading up a bit further north to see our friends Jamie and Judy who used to live in Orlando. And now, some reading time! Ahh, I love vacation!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yay Vacation!

Thursday wound up being a 10+ hour workday while I was trying to wrap everything up before our vacation. This left no time for training except for a very short (like 12min) jog with Tassie when I got home. Then I packed up as much as possible because the plan was to leave town right after the Master's swim on Friday morning.

We took the scenic route this time - up through the Norfolk, Virginia area and over/under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Then through that part of the Virginia that is not even connected to the state - let me tell you, that place is weird. Then on through Maryland (close to Eagleman) and Delaware where we picked up the Lewes-Cape May Ferry. You just drive your car on and you have a lovely boat trip to the southern tip of New Jersey. I highly recommend it - what a nice way to travel instead of the alternative through DC and Philly. After our hellacious drive up to the Philly tri last month we were not entertaining that route again.

Marty had booked us tickets on the 6:15 pm ferry, but we made good time and were set to arrive just a little after 4 pm. There was a 4:15 ferry (and we knew that if we got there in time we could get on), but the website said you needed to arrive 1/2 hour before. We were going to be cutting it close just to arrive around 4:15 and Marty started to stress out a little at the prospect of having to wait an additional 2 hours before the next boat ride. We drive up to the ferry station at around 4:10 and the attendant said:

"Hi. I'll need your license and confirmation number."

Marty: "We have a reservation for the 6:15 ferry!!! But we were hoping to get on the 4:15!!! Is there anyway we can get on the 4:15????!!!!!"

Attendant (totally dead-pan): "Yeah, if I could get your license and confirmation number."

Heehee. Apparently this was no German train station and we had plenty of time to drive onto the ferry :)

In the end, we made it in to Cape May and then drove into Ocean City to stop by a beach house where some of Marty's old friends stay every summer. Our quick 'stop-by' turned into several hours of good conversation and laughs and they insisted on feeding us an extremely huge and yummy dinner. Very nice.

Today we checked into our little condo on the bay after a run on the boardwalk. They have a big boat parade tonight called Night in Venice that we'll be able to watch right outside our back door. Vacation has begun!

Leaving Delaware on the ferry:



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Funny

Confession: I love bad-for-you foods. You name it, I love it: ice cream, cake, cheese, anything with sugar, soda, McDonald’s (Yes, I said McDonald’s!), the list goes on and on. Everything in moderation, of course, so I don’t eat all that in one sitting, and I also try and eat lots of fruits and veggies. AND I seem to have a very small stomach so I get full fast, but then 2 hours later I’M STARVING (and also snappy and the annoyance level is high – Marty knows better and immediately gets food in me STAT).

Another thing I also love is butter. Mmmmmmm. Growing up we always used “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” which I loved because it was soft and made sticking your finger in to get a little swipe easy. I know, that’s gross. Anyways, I can’t help it, but the generic store brand we buy always makes me laugh – “Butter It’s Not!”

Hahahahahaha!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend So Far

Yesterday afternoon Marty and I went to the Mellow Mushroom (yummy pizza place). Yes, I said yesterday afternoon because we were there just after 5pm! Early bird specials for us. The good thing is that place gets crazy crowded but not at that time - and we were seated as a nasty storm hit, so yeah, good timing.

Then I got a cupcake at The Cupcake Shoppe.

This morning we met Alysia and Kari for an open water swim at a cove at Jordan Lake. I hadn't been to that cove before even though a lot of people swim there - it was great! Marty brought his surfboard and paddled around while the three of us swam. This was nice because we had someone watching out for us and we could also sight on him ahead of us instead of "that one tree right in front of the other 1,000 around it?"

After our open water swim, or group got a little bigger with the addition of Jerry (aka, Jer-Bear) for a few hours (+/- depending on who you were) on our bikes. We had a nice ride that was complete with a couple of loose dogs, a fight with a bug, and see-through shorts. The see-through shorts were mine, which of course I didn't know about and now I'm trying to remember if I wore them in other recent times and how many people in the area have seen my butt cheeks. Woops. The fight was between a massive bug and Kari - it caused her to fall over on her brand new bike, luckily in the grass. It flew straight down her shirt and tried to put some bug moves on her. She is a married women and was none too pleased.

The 3 chicas at a quick store stop:


Tomorrow we're putting on an open water swim clinic and have a bunch of people signed up. Looking forward to it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Almost TGIF

Nothing terribly exciting going on. If you read Marty’s blog, you know that he passed his Copper Eagle Kung Fu test to become a Silver Eagle. Here is a picture of some of his classmates. Yes, I agree, it does look like the one kid is picking his nose.


Tassie got shaved. Once again, Marty asked for a mohawk, but since I had just trimmed off the last one, the groomer wasn’t able to give her a big one – ha! She is also not as skinny as she has been in the past when we shave her. Our little girl is growing up and filling out! Her third birthday is a week from today.



I signed up for the Brigantine Island Triathlon (while we’re on vacation in Jersey). Yup, Penny-Pinching-Marty let me sign up. ¼ mile swim, 11 mile bike, 4 mile run – that’s right up my alley! Maybe Marty is worried I will beat him? ;) Actually, I think a perfect Bri Sprint would be a ½ mile swim, 7 mile bike, 4 mile run. I have yet to find this race.

I’m working on a giant proposal at work, but it’s a lot of ‘hurry up and get this done’ and then….wait. So some days are very busy and other’s aren’t so busy. Next week pre-vacation will be super busy and I’m expecting to be putting in some long hours. Yuck, but sometimes you gotta do it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wedding & Triangle Triathlon

I have a lot of updating to do!

First, Thursday evening – Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner. Good times! I apparently thought I needed to lean sideways to get in this picture. I was wrong. Please note the cute red dress Shana bought for me.




Friday night was the wedding, but first we had to go get our hair and makeup done. Fun! Once we got to the Carolina Inn, we were supposed to start taking pictures around 5ish, so about 4:15 we were all getting dressed and doing any last minute prep work to make sure we were beautiful ;) One of the bridesmaids went to iron her dress and on the lightest setting it burned a hole right through it!! There was a mad dash trying to find her a new dress and one of the other bridesmaid’s husbands ran her to the mall so she could get something (luckily we all just wore little black dresses). That set the pictures back a bit but other than that everything went well.

The ceremony was nice although I was told I walked down the aisle too quickly (I don’t like all eyes on me!). I wasn’t expecting my sister to cry so quickly and was not prepared to give her any tissues. Bad matron of honor! After the ceremony we took TONS of pictures and finally, finally the wedding party was introduced at the reception. The best man twirled me around and then we did a chest bump which was well received :)

I was most nervous about the speech I had to give, and I had to wait until the cake cutting to give it (so all through dinner I was a little on edge). I had written it the week before and then committed it to memory which I then thought was a big mistake – what if I forgot a line? Or a paragraph? In the end, I remembered it all and I got a lot of laughs at the right places. The reception was very fun and we danced until 11:30pm and then a bunch of us went to Top of the Hill afterwards. It was a long, fun night! Marty and I got home well after 2am.







I tried to sleep in but ended up feeling tired and hungover the next day. I wasn’t even really hungover! It was just the late night and lack of sleep and too much dancing that did me in. I cleaned up the house and then tried to relax on the couch since I had a race the next day! I was fast asleep by 9pm that night.

The race!

I knew the Triangle Triathlon was going to be super competitive. I had heard Chris was not racing so I thought if I had a good day I could sneak into the last podium spot (3rd). Stacey and Alicia trounce me on the bike and until I start riding more than 60-100miles a week they will continue to put lots of minutes on me. Anyways, after all the communication from the race organization, I was pretty paranoid about the parking situation so we left very early. It seemed too early, but we ended up getting one of the last parking spots in the ‘close’ lot. Once into transition I was ready quickly and then had lots of time to stand around and talk. I tried to waste some time talking to Alysia, but she is not a very good multi tasker and I knew I was getting in her way more than anything so decided to let her get herself ready and leave her alone. Stacey and I walked to the swim start nice and early.

They started us late (because of parking problems) and I was getting quite chilled after having been in the water so long. Once the gun went off there was a lot of thrashing and I felt like there was a conspiracy to beat me up out there. I also felt HORRIBLE. Seriously, terrible. I have not felt that bad on a swim in a very long time and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. It was a bit choppy out to the first buoy, and even after that I was still surrounded by people and couldn’t find any clear water. Finally, the last turn buoy and I tried to pick it up but I was still getting clawed! Augh! I couldn’t wait for this swim to be over! Finally, it was and I made my way through the long run to my bike. There were several girls ahead of me onto the bike.

The bike goes out of the park (going over several speed bumps along the way) and then you make a turn and you’re still on a false flat. My legs felt pretty crappy. I guess it was just going to be one of those days. I tried to stay positive but I was just feeling so awful. At this point I was in 4th place and I could see Stacey and Alicia motoring away. I could also see a spec that I assumed was Amie but she ended up pulling away the last 5 miles, too. I didn’t feel all that bad going up the hills, but I just couldn’t find that pace you should have in a sprint.

The last mile I was psyching myself up for the run – I’m a runner after all! As I entered in transition I heard 3rd place was a minute up, but as I exited transition someone yelled 3rd was 45 seconds up. I knew this was a challenging run course and didn’t want to go out too hard so put it into a tempo I knew I could hold. I caught Amie around the mile mark and just stay relaxed. The run was mostly off road with some hills and it was a lot of fun. There was a run turnaround just before the 2 mile mark where you could gauge the competition and I saw that Alicia was pretty far ahead and I had gotten a good lead on Amie so I put it into cruise control. There are races when you’re able and willing to go to the well and hurt a lot, but today was not one of those days. My body was not up for the challenge and since I was comfortably in 3rd I decided to enjoy the last mile. I smiled at the cheers coming in and a lot of people commented on how good I looked at the finish (which is what happens when you back off and aren’t too tired!) Stacey won but was dinged with a ‘not having your run number visible’ penalty (2min!) which dropped her to 2nd. Alicia was the winner by default.

I was happy to make the podium! That was tough and I think I need a little bit of rest right now. I still don’t know what’s next for me racing-wise. I guess I should figure it out!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Internet News Stories

Have you noticed that online stories usually have some additional hyperlinked story within the original? I imagine these are supposed to be related to the story at hand and direct you to similar stories that may interest you. This morning while perusing what was going on in the world, I saw a piece by Time with the title "Why Are Southerners So Fat?" This of course piqued my interest and I got a good laugh at the link below this paragraph:

"States like Mississippi and Tennessee also have a surprising lack of sidewalks, discouraging even the most eager pedestrians. Many roads are narrower than those in the North — where streets have wider shoulders to accommodate winter snow — and people who want to bike or jog find themselves uncomfortably close to traffic. (See pictures of the perfect steak.) "

I guess since I am reading this article I would also like to see pictures of the perfect steak?!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blahhh

Blah is how I’ve been feeling this week. Kind of like on the verge of a cold but nothing full blown. Marty commented on my sexy voice yesterday morning, then I coughed up a bunch of yuck. I’ve been extra tired and my muscles have been too sore. I skipped Master’s this morning which seemed like a good idea at 5am, but when I got up later I was very mad at myself. Why is it so easy to look at someone from the outside and say, “duh, take a little bit of rest.” But when it’s you it’s difficult to decide if you need to rest or a kick in the pants to stop being such a sissy.

Wedding festivities begin tomorrow with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. This past weekend my sister and I made programs and tied lots of string around them; I remember doing all these little things before my wedding and I’m happy to help her out (for some reason I did most of the stuff by myself because I didn’t want to bother anyone). The rehearsal dinner is at the Carolina Brewery – only our family!

And at the risk of making (apparently) most of America angry, is anyone else sick of all the Michael Jackson coverage? I know I am.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Unreal Weather

We've been enjoying some incredible weather the past two days - unseasonably nice weather. It's blue skies, lots of sun, and super low humidity. This is definitely not something we get in the midst of summer in the south so we're all keeping our fingers crossed that it lasts a bit longer.

I'm especially keeping my fingers crossed since my sister is getting married next Friday and I don't want all her pictures to turn out with my family red and sweaty (we are a family of sweat-ers!)

Yesterday morning we had our typical 'Fast Friday' at Master's. Marty and I had breakfast at a local place and then came home and took a nap! Oh the little things! After more coffee we headed out on a leisurely ride. I could get used to this :)

We were way out in the countryside when I heard Marty's tire go. We stopped so he could change it and upon inflating the new tube with the CO2 cartridge, it went flat again. We weren't sure if the tube was bad or the cartridge was bad, but now we only had one more cartridge and one more spare between us.

Luckily, a small group of riders rode up and stopped to make sure we were okay. They gave us one of their spare CO2's and it turned out the tire was bad. So Marty used our other spare and cartridge, and we were good to go. But they wouldn't let us leave until they had given us another spare and CO2 'just in case.' They wouldn't accept the $3 Marty had in his pocket or even the Cliff Blocks we tried to give in appreciation!

Of course we will be paying it forward at some point!

Now we're getting ready to have a little cookout at our house with some friends. Happy 4th!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Resting It Up

After sitting in the car for too long after the race on Sunday, my left knee/IT band decided to voice it's displeasure. I took Monday completely off from working out. Tuesday evening I did a very easy, short spin on trainer and this morning I had an extremely painful massage.

But I'm feeling good.

Here are a couple of pro pictures from Philly. I try to smile if I see the camera because I feel like the picture will come out better if I'm smiling. I've seen enough non-smiling pictures to assume this. Really, I wasn't feeling so great at this point, but I saw the camera and thought, "Hi camera!" Little did I know Beth was stalking me from behind.




Ooof. That hurt.


In other news, I'm on my 2nd Timex watch in two months. Face plates are not sealed properly and keep letting water in. These things are not made like they used to be. I sent back the first one and they sent me a new one (with an outrageous $7 shipping/handling fee - I have a hard time coughing up more money when the product is totally defective and pretty much brand new). But I didn't even get a chance to pay this $7 before the one they sent me has leaked. They at least said they wouldn't charge me the $7 again (but I do still need to pay the original). Now I'm out a watch again for 4 weeks. Takes a licking but keeps on ticking my a**.

Yay to a no-work Friday!