a Bri Gaal's Blog: August 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Off Topic

So…I totally didn’t mean for my last post to turn into an age group vs open debate, but I do appreciate all the comments. It made me think of earlier this year when Marty happened to (light-heartedly) call TNT “the purple menace” and received lots of comments about that one little phrase, which was totally not the main idea/summary/point of his thoughts.

Just to put in my little bit of observation:

  • It seems that the bigger national races that offer good prizes tend to get more open racers.
  • Set-Up doesn’t offer much in the form of prizes at any of their races to distinguish the open competition from the age groups; they do give a little bit of cash for the series, but probably not enough to entice most to race open (especially when we have some super-freakin-fast ladies in the state that can easily sweep up the money)
  • Set-Up probably doesn’t have an incentive to offer good prizes, particularly to the open division – because frankly, why should they? They sell out almost all of their races and certainly hardly anyone is signing up for their races because of who might be racing in the open division. People sign up for their races because they do a great job of putting them on.
  • For whatever reason(s), the men don’t seem to have this particular problem.

Anyways, like I said previously, I like to RACE! No matter what the age is, I would rather race against the fastest. It brings out the better athlete in me and forces me to push through boundaries. And I like that. With the current trend here in NC, though, racing age group would probably be the way to go if I really want that experience.

New Topic!

Marty took a looooong nap when we got home, but I wasn’t too tired so I mostly read a book (confession, it was Twilight, and yes I realize this is supposed to be for people MUCH younger than me, but what can I say? I liked it!) Then we went to The Flying Saucer for a couple of beers, but of course, we were home by about 8:30 pm. We are such rock stars.

Sunday, Marty got up early and went to the beach with some friends. While it may have been fun to go to the beach, I probably would’ve gotten bored after awhile just watching these guys surfing all day. So I decided to stay home and check off lots of things on my to-do list:

  • Big shop at Trader Joes
  • Change my cassette and clean my bike
  • Ride my bike (on the trainer, so I could…)
  • Watch a movie (wanted to see The Other Boleyn Girl after reading the book. I know I heard lots of people say they didn’t like movie, especially after reading the book. I’m now one of those people)
  • Take Tassie for a walk (not as fun for her since I won’t let her chase the ducks)
  • Clean the house (this took 2+ hours, and that was just the downstairs, sheesh)
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Finish Twilight

Next weekend is going to be jam packed with our camp and The Nuclear Swim (over 200 people are signed up already!!) so I really wanted to try and get as much done as possible this weekend. Mission accomplished.

I sure did use a lot of bullet points today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lake Norman Recap

This morning while setting up my transition, I saw a guy in a motorized wheel chair with a breathing tube and a personal nurse by his side rolling by the bikes. I distinctly remember stopping what I was doing and staring at him; wondering what happened and thinking 'geez, it can all be taken away so quick.'

Then before they started the race, I found out about his story. I can't remember his name right now, but last year he raced at Lake Norman. They gave him the mic and he was able to read a prepared speech through his breathing tube. He noticed something was wrong with his hand around the race time last year, and finally got a diagnosis in December - he had ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and one short year later he was paralyzed and couldn't breathe on his own. I teared up as he told his story, and as he sat there telling us to enjoy ourselves during the race and embrace the hurt that racing brings. It really can all be taken away so quick.

As it turned out, there were not any other Open women that showed up for the race. There were a few Master's Open women, so at least some others were in my wave (along with the Open and Master's Males). I saw Nasrin off to my right after the start and then tried to settle in behind her for a draft but couldn't stick on her feet at the turn buoys - ahh she was swimming so fast! Or maybe I was swimming slow? I need to stop skipping master's in the morning! But I was breathing and pulling hard so I thought I was swimming okay, Nas was just swimming better. I saw her get out of the water and estimated she was 15 seconds ahead of me. As I ran out, someone told me I was the first female but I knew that people often mess this up - but then when I got to the transition area Nas wasn't there -- it was Wade! Oops, so I'm first women out of my wave.

A male open passed me right out of transition and during the bike 2 master's open men passed me. And that was it. For the entire race. Out of 700 people, I saw 3 people on the course. 3! They had shortened the bike because of construction and the cut through road they put us on was even more hilly than the usual course. I tried to push.

I came off the bike and onto the run. I tried to push. I didn't see anyone ahead or behind me, the only people I saw were the volunteers.

I crossed the line first and then did a cooldown with Marty (who raced really well today! a few track workouts and he knocked some serious time out of his run). We saw some ladies who were moving on the run in the 35-39 age group; they were about 3 seconds apart. The first lady asked how far ahead she was, they were both working. I caught up to her after she finished and asked if she had held the other lady off and she said, "I did! It was great, we were together on the bike going back and forth and then ran the entire run together."

Oh, you mean you got to race?! I felt a pang of jealousy - I do these races to race, not for a time trial and I know how much it hurts and also how FUN it is to duke it out with other competitors.

At the awards I found out these two had beaten me by 1 minute and I was super bummed. First, though, I got to feel like an idiot getting up on the podium by myself for the first place open woman.

I was pissed. I was pissed at myself for not being able to push harder by myself. I was mad that I wasn't faster. And I was irked that fast age group women don't race open.

I threw myself a pity party for 5 minutes in the car, silently fuming and sending my friend an upset text about the race.

Then I stopped and thought about that guy with ALS and I felt like an absolute JERK. What am I upset about?! About not winning? Am I that big of a baby? (uhhh, don't answer that). I got to go out there and do something I love, still finishing 3rd overall while my husband is out there doing great, too. That guy probably has weeks or months to live.

Hopefully he knows that his story and speech affected a lot of people, but particularly me - as I remember what a gift life itself is - and one that is never guaranteed. This is something that is way too easy to forget.

I'm sure when I see my splits I'll be mad all over again, but I promise to get over it quick ;)

We took the scenic route home and stopped in Pittsboro at the Soda Shop.

And I had a delicious chocolate malt.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Up Next: Lake Norman Sprint

This weekend Marty and I will be racing at Lake Norman, part of the NCTS. Lake Norman is a large lake near Charlotte, and this particular race takes place right near Davidson College. It’s just a sprint, but everyone knows how much I enjoy those! We did this race two years ago and two things have stuck in my memory:

1) a very hilly and hot run
2) a fantastic post race spread of food

I weighed the pros and cons of racing at Age Group Nationals this weekend, but staying local and trying to get more points towards the series, plus the fun factor of it all made this race win out. The competition won’t be anything like I would’ve gotten in Alabama, but our checkbook will thank us.

Tassie Update
Some of you may remember that Tassie has a heart problem (valve prolapse that causes enlargement and the lining to thin) and that she’s on blood pressure medication for it. Her checkup today was good and the vet said her heart sounds the same which should mean that it hasn’t gotten any worse. It definitely hasn’t curbed any of her activities and hopefully never will. You cannot believe how excited this dog gets when we put on our running clothes, I wish I got that excited to run!

She has also updated her blog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hey, That's Me!

The brochure for a popular running series in the area was sent out the other day. This was my go-to running outfit for the races last year; I wanted to make sure everyone knew I was a girl :)

Original brochure here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tassie Loves Geese & Ducks

Really, she just wants to play with them...not grab them in her mouth and shake them until their death!



Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Friday Friday

So last we talked Marty and I were heading to meet up with a ‘new to us’ track group. It was a 100 degree day so they decided to do something fun instead of the planned 1200 meter repeats. The fun was 200 meter repeats run as 3 person rolling relays – so the relay continued until everyone had done a 200 4 times. We only did 3 rounds which doesn’t add up to a whole lot of mileage but it was a lot of speed! Especially since we were supposed to run these at 5K pace, but who can run 5K pace for 200 meters during a relay?! Unless I plan on running a 14-15min 5K soon... My quads were sore, VERY SORE, for days after. The group was very nice, but as I mentioned to a couple of people, it’s those types of situations where I completely clam up and become shy and introverted. I’ve actually had people tell me on more than one occasion that they thought I was snobby when they first met me because I didn’t talk a whole lot – I promise I’m not! I just get very shy in certain situations – particularly ones that involve larger groups of people where I don’t know anyone. Huge character flaw :(

Don’t forget to sign up for the Nuclear Swim soon! We’ve got a fun t-shirt designed for the event and if you don’t sign up a week in advance we can’t guarantee you a shirt (or size). I’m telling you this for my own benefit because I had too many people get a little huffy at the last race during packet pickup because they didn’t sign up early enough and then got miffed that they didn’t get a t-shirt. And you will be disappointed if you miss out on this one :)

Big day tomorrow: long run at Umstead, swim clinic (our biggest yet, almost had to cap it!) and then right to a Durham Bulls baseball game with friends. Can’t wait!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Tonight Marty and I are going to check out a local track group. Hitting the track is not something I’ve done very consistently over the past 3 years. In fact, I think I might have only been on the track a grand total of 3 times since moving up hear in 2006. It should be fun to make it hurt on the oval again, and we couldn’t have picked a better day – hottest past couple of days we’ve had just about all summer! I’ll pretend I’m back with the old Wednesday night crew at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando; this would’ve been a typical temperature from about April through October.

Back when we were running with that group, Marty was in much better running shape. His PR’s are much faster than mine, and even when he wasn’t training specifically for the short stuff, we would have some pretty good duels on the track and on the road.

Here is a picture from the finishing stretch of the OUC 5K in December of 2005. I was ahead of Marty for almost the entire race but he caught me with about ½ mile to go. I put on a massive kick and got to the finish line a couple of seconds ahead of him – all’s fair in love and war! Neither one of us were training a whole bunch at this point; Marty had just done Kona and we were very busy trying to sell our condo and pack all of our stuff for our big trip around the world in 2006. Incidentally, it’s kind of scary how many pictures are out there on the internet! It took me no time at all to dig these up.

Here we are immediately post race. No hard feelings :) And yes, before anyone points out the obvious, Marty used to have hair. I think this is the funniest comment I hear a lot when people see older pictures of him. Well, of course he had hair! Whaddya think he came out bald when he was born and stayed that way? :P

Friday, August 7, 2009

2 Blogs in 1 Day!

So I'm sitting at work waiting for the production guy to call and say we can do the final page turn of the proposal and I have nothing else to do. In an effort to look like I'm doing actual work, I decided to make up some fun triathlon related graphs.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

  • The toll-ticket we blew through on our way to Philly came in the mail the other day. We were worried they were going to charge us some outrageous fee but nope, just the price of the toll: $5.00. Pheww! Marty and I are both bad about having cash on us, and who can scrounge around the car for $5? I did get to above $2 which I thought was impressive. But seriously, if the tolls are getting that high they really need to have the option of paying with a credit card.

  • I pretty much had a little more than a week off of swimming and boy do I feel s-l-o-w in the water! Funny how fast you can lose it. But, I also know it comes back quick so I just slogged through the Wednesday and Friday master’s practice.

  • Ice Cream Ride tomorrow morning! Will ride for 50-60 miles for homemade ice cream :)

  • Thanks to Michelle Simmons (who I’ve never met, just stalk her read her blog) I bought and finished the book The Other Boleyn Girl on our vacation. Great read.

  • We’ve been taking Tassie with us more and more to outdoor restaurants that allow dogs and she’s been doing beautifully. There’s a new place near us called the Corner Tavern that she can go to and last night we ate outside at Pei-Wei. She is super well behaved and only gets scared if one of the chairs makes too much noise. But she’s even getting better at that.

  • I don’t want to complain about work anymore, but let’s just say the stress level was way too high this week. Proposal was printed and is being hand delivered by the project manager on Monday. Big sigh of relief!

  • Here I am on the awards stand at the Brigantine Triathlon. They had post-race burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, making me think I was back in North Carolina. The lady to the left of me (2nd place) is 50! Hard to believe.

  • If you’d like to see more pictures, you can friend me on facebook. I’m too lazy to load them :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Post Vacation Busy-ness

Yikes, I've barely had time to breathe since returning home! My bag is still completely packed and I have so many things I should be doing (instead of blogging) but facebook only captures so much of my attention ;) I also can't find the camera cord which is SO ANNOYING. Why can't every cord be the same? Instead I have 17 different cell phone charges and miscellaneous camera cords from years gone by. Can't we consolidate this people?!

I also walked into work up to my eyeballs Monday morning. My back-up ended up deep into another proposal so the one that I was working on didn't get much love while I was gone. And oh yeah, it's getting shipped on Thursday. This led to another 10+hour day on Monday while I sat in excel spreadsheets and on the phone trying to get information from people. Today had slightly less hours but tomorrow it should start tapering off and I can get back to a more normal schedule. Which hopefully will include working out again!

This is boring. I'm going to go be useful and clean my bike instead.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Finishing Up a Great Vacation

The last I blogged, we were headed up to see our friends Jamie & Judy up in Ocean Grove (central Jersey shore). They lived in Orlando when we there and are great people; we haven't seen them in over a year and it was nice to visit their home town and hang out, even if just for a short time. They took us out to the boardwalk and we had a little dinner in Asbury Park (home of Bruce Springsteen, and films such as The Wrestler and Dogma had scenes right where we were). What's really fun is you just jump on beach cruisers and ride wherever you want - no cars needed.

We drove back to Ocean City on Wednesday afternoon and enjoyed several days and nights of good dinners and beach time. We went into Atlantic City on Thursday and had a fancy-for-us dinner. Friday we had planned on watching some competitive lifeguard races in Wildwood but the weather turned bad and they were postponed until Sunday.

Saturday morning we got up very early because we needed to be out of our condo by 11am and we were doing a triathlon that morning. So everything had to be super clean and cleared out when we left for the race. The triathlon in Brigantine, is in it's 22nd year. It's not a USAT event, and if you look at their brochure they obviously have been using the same wording forever because it says it's not a Tri-Fed race - now that's bringing it WAY back!

So little race report:

I had only swam once this past week but new I could wear my wetsuit so I wasn't too worried. That thing makes me such a better swimmer than I really am. I also didn't have any race wheels or aero helmet because I didn't feel like carting all that stuff around all week on vacation. I was doing it old school ;) The swim was only a 1/4 mile, with the current going out and against coming back. Missed the last buoy so had to backtrack a bit (along with my entire wave and the one before me it seemed). Then it was off to run through the world's longest and skinniest transition ever. I was the 4th wave (women 30-39) and the 3rd was women 29 & under. The first two were men's waves. The bike was okay - flat and turny with some bumpy roads. It is really fun to fly by other people on the bike, something I don't get to do very often! By the end of the bike I had caught everyone in the wave ahead of me but one girl (I had come out first in my wave for the swim). After about 1/2 mile I saw her up ahead and could see I was very slowly reeling her in. It was good to have her to key off of and I finally caught and passed her around the 3 mile mark. The run was a boring, flat, out and back that heated up very quick in the sun. I ended up running the 4miles in 25:19 which I'm very happy with because I really felt in control and strong the entire way.

Here are the results.

Marty was stoked he beat me by over a minute -- dangit! I thought I might be able to get him with the longer run :)

I have pictures to put up but the camera is out of juice and my computer is running low now so I'd better shut down! Still a lot of driving left until we get home and I need to entertain Marty.