a Bri Gaal's Blog: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Lucky Day

Last night, Marty and I hit the track group. Angela and Tim come out now and it's nice to chat with Angela on the warmup and cooldown. We even got a few hi's and smiles from some of the other members which is a big step - this is not the Downtown Orlando Y Runners Club!

I stupidly left my sunglasses hooked to the fence and completely forgot about them until very late that night. Cue stomach drop. No no no! Those were my prescription sunglasses and those things aren't cheap! The track is not close to our house and I wasn't going to drive back there right then. I really hoped either someone from the group saw them or they were just still there - they certainly wouldn't do anyone any good if a random took them thinking they had just scored some new shades.

I got up early and was out the door quick (jeans and a messy bun do not a financial analyst make, but that's what they got today) so I could drive across town to see if by some chance they were still there - I got lucky!! Still hanging on the fence and no worse for the wear. I did get to see some of the local high schoolers - really, a pink mohawk, sandals and knee socks?! What is going on with these kids.

Cross Country
After work I went for a little run to the park near our house. I didn't realize that a cross country race was going on; they didn't have any markings or anything that would clue me in. So I found out when a stream of girls came running right towards me on the trail. Oops. I ran in the bushes to get out of their way and then high tailed it the other direction at my first opportunity.

I made my way to the other end of the field where the paved trail is and thought it was clear to go back in that way. There wasn't anyone on that part until all of the sudden several stragglers came out of another trail in the woods. Crap, I was totally blocked in and these girls were not running fast - I was catching them quickly. This is weird. Then around the bend - and there's now a line of spectators on BOTH sides of the paved trail! I had nowhere to go and I was still passing these poor girls. I'm such a tool! In the middle of a high school cross country race again! Thank god I opted out of taking Tassie with me, that would've been very interesting.

As you can see, I was pretty freaking embarrassed. I took the first turn I could to get out of that mess.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blah Blah Blog

The Gaal’s enjoyed a nice weekend at home – finally! Training has taken a backseat to everything in my life right now…ahh the off season. I don’t feel the need for a big break (I only did sprints since June, which is I think a big part of it), so I just kind of slept in and did whatever I wanted. This included nothing, an easy 30min run, more nothing, a short bike with a friend tapering for Kona and a lot more nothing.

We had some houseguests for the Duke Half and went out to dinner with them on Saturday night. Tassie got all sorts of loving from them, too, including the requisite foot massages she so dearly loves. Marty and I made our way out to the course on Sunday to watch the athletes come in off the bike and start the tough half marathon run. I once again had no feelings of ever wanting to do that race – more power to you all who do :) That afternoon we grilled out with some friends before we met another friend out for some celebratory beers (he raced that morning). Dang, we are popular.

Throughout the fall I plan on doing some of the local road races but the big event will be the Disney half marathon in January. I’m going to try and train specifically for it and actually race my first half marathon. We’ll see how it goes. Marty’s spectating since that race has an astronomical price tag associated with it, and we didn’t think it would be wise to spend $260 for both of us to do a half marathon. Even worse for our Aussie friends who are also running, because of the exchange rate.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just to push the last one down

I don't have too much interesting to say, but figured I needed to push that last post down a bit so people weren't scared when they saw that picture. I'm glad a lot of you got a laugh out of it; I sure did!

Yesterday after work I went for an easy jog. It had started raining in the afternoon but by the time I started, it was just a light drizzle. It must've been the calm before the storm because the skies absolutely opened up and I got DUMPED on. I seriously don't think it could've rained any harder. I stupidly decided to run on the trails in Bond Park near my house thinking that the rain wouldn't be hitting me so hard, but I didn't think that the trails would be such a mess. It was more like running through a river.

On my way home, we always pass this house where the people sit on their front porch and smoke. We always wave and they wave back, all of us probably thinking interesting thoughts about the other I'm sure. I can't imagine what they thought yesterday as I came plodding by like a drowned rat. They did ask where my other half was - it's like we're all almost friends ;)

I slept in Monday and Wednesday for masters. I never feel guilty about it right when I start the off season. But I do like swimming so I'll get back into it very soon. It's the waking up so early that I don't like so much, but whaddya gonna do?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If you can't laugh at yourself...

I found this gem of a picture from the Lake Norman triathlon. Oh my.

It seems that it would never be advisable to have your picture taken with your goggles on.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wilmington YMCA Triathlon Race Report


Wilmington was going to be the last race of the season for me and I was determined to make it a good one. We got there Friday evening, in time to pick up our packets and have dinner at the condo we rented with one of Marty's athletes and our dog Tassie. I won't reveal what we ate since most of you would recoil in horror at our pre-race dinner (but it was just a sprint and we were running out of options and time by that point).

I was dissatisfied with my performance at Lake Norman and also with my race here last year. I strung together some good solid weeks of training and felt pretty strong coming into the race, but also knew after glancing at the participant list that it would be competitive -- YAY!!!

I rode my bike to transition, set up my junk and chatted with people on my rack. Rode the trolley to the swim start (it's a point to point swim) - we got to wear our wetsuits! Although, upon going in the water I was pretty surprised, and even got a bit warm during the swim. Marty and I misheard the current warnings and lined up on the wrong end of the start line (the current was moving pretty strong pushing us to the right for the early waves) but I still had a great swim for myself. I went super, super hard at the beginning and was able to draft off of people I'm typically nowhere near. Of course, they did drop me about half way through and I had a moment of panic when I realized, "Wow, I'm REALLY tired!" but was able to compose myself and still got out of the water in a great position. I actually beat Kate Martin (last year's winner) out who I've never beat in the water. And upon running to my bike, Chris was still there. Kate is a transition specialist and was off ahead of me on the bike (and I'm not even that slow with my wetsuit or anything - she just blew by so fast). I passed her after the causeway, she re-passed me soon after, and then I passed her back quickly for the last time and stayed ahead the rest of the ride. But she was in the back of my mind and it really forced me to go fast! No sleeping this time on the bike! I knew that the bike was going to be important and I pushed a lot harder than I normally do, not even worrying about what my run may feel like because of it. Last year, my bike was pretty crappy, and I ended up biking almost 2 min faster this year. Very happy about that.

I am a little slower in T2 since I put on socks, but once again Kate was a lightening bolt and I swear I barely saw her rack her bike before she was off. Leaving T2, I was in 4th place - Kate was just ahead of me, Chris was in 2nd and Brianne Godwin was in 1st (she crushed us all on the swim).

At the beginning of the out and back early on in the run, I passed Kate and Chris pretty much at the same time. After the turn around I passed the other BG and was now in the lead just before the mile. I felt pretty good - I was definitely working it but thought I could hold the pace and felt like if anyone came up from behind I would be able to put up a good fight. Kate had told me before the race that she had been running a lot so I wasn't going to discount her that fast.

I also caught Marty around the 2 mile mark, but was unable to make any snarky remark because I was too tired at that point and didn't have any extra breath -- just kidding! I would never do anything like that to my love :)

He did tell me that I was clear, which was nice to know. I didn't let up for one second but instead of worrying about what was going on behind me (because I was not going to look back) I could concentrate on my form and cadence.

I rounded the final corner and smiled as the announcer Tom called my name as the first female. This was my first win this year in the NCTS and definitely hard fought! It was a lot of fun to put it all out there and come out with the win.

After the race I was talking to Chris, who I had known was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago. I asked her if she was okay (I have not beaten Chris in a long time and she is now racing pro) -- this is what a class act she is: she said, "You know, I wish I could say that the accident is the reason why I didn't do good today, but I can't. I just didn't feel all that good!" So many people would have used any excuse for having a sub par race, but she was like, nope, just didn't have it. It sounds like she has had some pretty big training weeks so hopefully with a little rest this week she'll be ready to go for Best of the US next weekend.

So all in all, I'm really happy with my last race. I was able to dig deep AND feel good in all 3 sports; something that doesn't happy too often. It's always nice when the hard work pays off.

We met some of the Wilmington locals out that night - fun times! And this morning we did an open water swim clinic at Wrightsville Beach and in the intracoastal. Now it's time to unpack and do some laundry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Drizzly Weather

We've had cloudy, drizzly weather the past few days. Kind of like living in Seattle, I suppose, only warmer. The weather people keep saying we need the rain, but not this type of rain since it's not a whole bunch. Just annoying enough to get your glasses all speckled when you walk outside. I hate having to wear glasses.

I only had a 1 hour bike ride yesterday and it just didn't seem worth it to go outside for that, especially with traffic/stoplights/chance of showers so was planning on riding the trainer. Kari emailed me right before I left work and asked if I wanted to bring my trainer over to her house so we could ride together - fun! I brought over Twilight and we made fun of the awkward acting and the 1.5hr we ended up doing went by in a flash. I also gave her the book in hopes that she'll become as addicted as Brooke and I are and we can all dissect the plot line chapter by chapter.

I love this website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patriots Half and Busch Gardens

Alysia and I had such a fun weekend! We seem to find endless things to talk about and laughed a lot. Such a great time. I know Marty was building forts for himself in the living room, not knowing what to do while I was gone all weekend, but girl time is a must.

We started off Friday afternoon heading to Williamsburg, Va, and proceeded to get slightly lost trying to find the race site (this was a theme of the weekend). Race morning came very early and I started my paparazzi and sherpa duties. I think I did a pretty good job on both fronts. Alysia had a great swim and bike – her bike time was solid even though she had to ride the last 6 miles pretty easy so as not to cramp too much. Onto the run, she got into a groove after the first mile and was closing in on 3rd place when I saw her at mile 7. It was nice to meet Crystal Pruitt and her friend Meagan and have some people to chat with while we cheered on the competitors. Crystal and I raced against each other earlier this year but I didn't get a chance to talk with her. Such a nice girl! I was like the worried mother hen during the race hoping everything was going okay for Alysia, and I got very worried at the end when she didn’t turn the last corner when I thought she would. Turns out a really bad hamstring cramp at mile 9.5 had her doing the shuffle for the rest of the run. Even so, she finished 5th overall and 1st in her age group – not bad for her first half!

The course seemed really nice (I did most of the run course while she was out on the bike) and she ended up winning some wine, a wine glass and and gift card – nice winnings for a smaller half! I like supporting the non M-Dot races.

Besides the cramping, she had one other obstacle to overcome on the run course. The week of when we were talking about the weekend and going through any last minute questions she had about the race, I tried to convince her to wear socks on the run. But she was pretty adamant that it wasn’t necessary. Not wanting to be pushy I didn’t want to say anything else, but on the drive up it was bothering me so I mentioned it again, but that still didn’t budge her. Well, several bad blisters and one bloody foot later, she told me after the race that she would do anything I told her to do before a race – even if I told her something ridiculous like “eat 10 hot dogs before the start” Ha!

Later that night, we went to Cheeburger Cheeburger where Alysia finished their ‘famous pounder’ without any problem. She flexed for the camera that took her picture for the wall of fame, and the cooks in the back couldn’t get over how ripped her arm was. We hit a local bar after that and did a couple of celebratory shots. It was a great way to end the evening.

Busch Gardens was fantastic. There weren’t any lines on any of the rides and we managed to ride each roller coaster twice (front row and back row) plus saw a show, and did most of the other little rides. We ate at the Festhaus for lunch where they were doing Oktoberfest celebrations and one of the dancers took a liking to us (after teasing me about eating a cookie monster cupcake – where are the kids? he asked). So we both ended up in front of the crowd – Alysia did the polka and I did the chicken dance. It was me and a bunch of 2 year olds holding hands and flapping our wings. Awesome.

This week has been pretty busy already and this weekend is my last triathlon (Wahh!) in Wilmington. I’m hoping that the cooler weather brings a wetsuit legal swim for this longer than normal sprint (1500 meters with a current). We’re staying overnight with Tassie and we’ll be a running an open water swim clinic on the beach on Sunday. The following weekend I’ll finally be at home and will hopefully get caught up on the rest of life!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Patriots Half

Nope, not doing the Patriots Half, just going to support one of my bestest friends Alysia - it's her first half! She had been debating for awhile about doing one and I told her a long time ago that if her husband couldn't go with her I'd be happy to be her sherpa.

It'll be a fun girls weekend; we're going to go to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg on Sunday. Hopefully, Alysia won't be too tired because I'm going to print out the map and plan out what rides we're going to go on first - of course we'll sprint through the gate right when it opens (this is what my dad would always do when we would go to Busch Gardens in Tampa - roller coaster riding is serious business).

So Marty will be the bachelor this weekend, but he's keeping himself plenty busy with the Pier 2 Pier swim in Wrightsville Beach on Saturday and then the Magnificent Mile on Sunday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Always Check the Seat Back Pocket

On our plane flight down to Florida I was jamming to some new Muse on my i-pod. When I was done, I put it in the seat back pocket in front of me because I had a drink and peanuts on my tray table and I didn’t feel like shuffling everything around to put it back in my bag.

Big mistake and you can probably see where this is going.

I didn’t even realize I had left it on the plane until Sunday night when I thought to myself, ‘Oh, I’d better charge up my i-pod so I can listen to it tomorrow.’ Then I went to my bag and was puzzled when it wasn’t in the pocket. Then it hit me…..oh what a horrible feeling!

At the airport I went to check if any very moral person had found it and left it at the Southwest office, but I wasn’t so lucky. And the employee said that usually those things turn up right away; if hadn’t been turned in yet, it probably wasn’t going to be.

Bad karma to that person! And an annoying lesson learned by me – always check that seat back pocket when you leave a plane!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend in Florida

Friday morning, Marty and I flew down to Hollywood Beach to spend Labor Day Weekend with his family. Specifically, for his father's 75th birthday. We rented a little studio condo right on the beach, and it was very nice - updated and clean. After the conversation I had with Marty earlier in the week, I was a tad worried since he had picked out the accommodation and I hadn't seen nary a picture.

Marty: I got us a place right on the beach! It was only $200 for the weekend.
Me: Hmmm. It was only that amount for one of the busiest summer holiday weekends? This can't be good.

But it turned out to be fine...very small...but nice. We don't need anything that big, and the Murphy bed was really quite comfortable.

Down in Florida we did a lot of eating with the family and caught up on each other's lives. I also listened to way too many poker stories, political rants, and national economy woes, which are always the themes when Marty, his dad, and brother-in-law get together.

Marty and I did a little open water swimming in between the oh-so-Floridian thunder stormy weather. The water was bath water and I thoroughly enjoyed that! I also read The Time Traveler's Wife (thanks to Laurie Zack, who I'm always getting book ideas from).

We also did a 5K early Sunday morning. It was put on by a 17 year old kid who was raising money for The National Kidney Foundation. He did an EXCELLENT job! You can read more about him here. He was able to get almost everything donated and had a much bigger turnout than he expected; really nice to do a race where literally all the proceeds go to a good cause. I managed to win and beat Marty by about 20 seconds. I didn't catch him until after the mile, though. I felt kind of yucky and seemed to be swimming rather than running -- the humidity was unbelievable! I've raced down there so many times throughout my life, but not having done it in awhile is always a shock. It does get hot and humid up here in NC, but you really don't know how humid it can get until you go to south Florida in Aug or September and do a race.

We flew back in this afternoon and have reunited with Tassie. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Glorious Weather

I was looking at the website for the 5K Marty found for us in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, and had to snicker at this warning:

Heat Warning

Temperatures and humidity can be high in South Florida. Drink plenty of fluids prior to and during this event. (Non-Alcoholic!)

Pheww! Good thing they qualified that statement.

There is definitely NOT a heat warning here in NC - the weather has been absolutely gorgeous! Last night we ran at the track and I felt so good! We did a bunch of 800s with short rest and it felt incredibly easy. Too easy. I'd like to feel like that in an upcoming race!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Got sucked in and couldn't stop!

As Marty pointed out yesterday, my blog has been awfully quiet. There a few reasons for this, but the main one being I read all the Twilight series books (and the leaked draft of Edward’s perspective of the first book). Devoured is not a strong enough word for what I did to these books and I had no idea that they would capture my attention so much! Marty is probably glad I’m done with them so I can get back to being a normal talking wife who folds laundry and all that.

Of course, besides reading 2,300+ pages in one week, I had work and training. And we ran a camp here Friday – Sunday (lots of training and eating), and Marty and I did packet pickup on Saturday for the final open water swim we put on. Sunday morning we were up early again to get out to the lake early enough to set up and I once again was in charge of checking people in and handing out the t-shirts. No one yelled at me this time around for not getting a t-shirt, but we did order extra this time and can you say LOCUSTS after the swim when people found the box of extra’s?! Like Marty mentioned, the race sold out last week which we were super happy about – being that it was the first year of the series and all that. Plus, we didn’t have to do any walk-up registrations the morning of which is time consuming. I can’t say enough nice things about the Finish Strong guys and gals. They know what they are doing and they are so calm and nice about everything! We’re so glad we were able to team up with them to bring some open water events to the area.

By Sunday I was pretty exhausted but was still planning on doing the swim myself. I had no idea how it would go with the less than normal sleep I had been getting, but it all turned out great! At the start I tried to get on some fast feet but they proved to be a little too fast for me so I ended up swimming by myself the entire way. My time was much faster than the Jordan lake swim, but it’s so hard to compare these open water events. We all had to deal with some very thick high grass, which was interesting to swim through to say the least, but hey, that’s open water for you! At the final turn buoy I swam hard to the finish and I felt like a swimmer!! It is always going to be hard for me to understand that yes, I am actually a pretty good swimmer when it wasn’t so long ago that I was almost always the last elite person out of the water in the Florida races. Being able to swim hard and feel pretty good makes me better understand why collegiate swimmers have the reputation of being pretty big partiers. This was not something you can really do in the midst of a cross country and track; if this had been a road race instead of a swim race I’m sure it would have been ugly and hurt bad, but something about the water made it much easier. Not to confuse anyone – we didn’t party all weekend or anything like that, but being exhausted/tired would have me believe that a race of any sort wouldn’t go all that well, but apparently swimming can be a different story (at least distance swimming).

This weekend we’ll be heading to Fort Lauderdale to spend some time with Marty’s family (it’s his dad’s birthday). Of course, Marty has found us a 5k to do! He always finds us some random race when we’re traveling. It’s in a park where we’ve done some triathlons and I’m not sure if any of it will be off road since there are some trails there, but it should definitely be flat!