a Bri Gaal's Blog: January 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Yeah, we totally went sledding on a pizza pan.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Become a Fan!

This is a rather trivial thing to blog about, what with a lot more important things happening in the world, but the topic was sparked while I was working (read: perusing the internet). Haha! Just kidding! I would never peruse the internet at work - that's just a joke. A jokey joke. Funny Bri.

That card's little statement happens to me a lot. People send me suggestions to become a 'fan' of something, or send me a group invitation on Facebook. 75% of the time I don't even know what it is. I mean it's cool and all to suggest things, but if it's a bit obscure, could you activate my decoder ring? And if you want me to become a fan of something that sponsors you - yeah, send me some sort of freebie and THEN I'll become a fan.

Oooooh, cynical and jaded Bri has made an appearance.

And now back to your regular scheduled program...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to the Track - Oopsy

We almost made it back to the track last night. We had good intentions and we were in the car heading to North Raleigh – I was on the phone with my sister so wasn’t really paying attention when Marty missed the exit. Yeah, we’ve been to this track before. Like a lot. But Marty happens to be the most directionally challenged person you will probably ever meet. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not exactly stellar either, but I’m a wee bit better than he is. Anyways, missing the exit wouldn’t be such a big problem except that the next chance we had to turn around would have put us in a snarl of rush hour traffic, which would’ve made our arrival to the track at least 30 min late. It was very quickly decided that it wasn’t worth it, and we headed to one of the entrances of Umstead for a short run in the semi-darkness. Marty ended up running home so he got a bit of a long run in, but mine was only worth about 30 min. I felt pretty good and didn’t have any hip pain, and possibly doing a track workout might not have been a good idea anyways (even though I wasn’t going to run hard).

Next week we’ll try again!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Past Weekend

I didn't run at all this past week. I did a number on my hip/glute/IT band after that long run last Sunday (I'm not really sure what was inflamed but it was in that general area). I feel like I'm pretty good at knowing my body and I have no problem backing off if the need arises (and the need had arisen!). So no running, but lots of foam rolling and ibuprofen. I did swim 3 times and rode easy on the trainer without any pain, just a little tightness. I gave it a test run Friday after work and it seemed much better - but I still gave it a rest over the weekend.

Saturday was a gorgeous day even though it started off a bit chilly. By the time we got going on our ride it was in the mid-40's but with bright sunshine. We went a little over 2 hours and although I felt fine, I am still woefully out of shape on my bike. I need to get that back in gear pronto.

The rest of the day was spent tying up loose ends for the clinic we were running in Huntersville, NC on Sunday. It's about a 2.5hr drive away so we had to leave the house earlier than you want to on a non-race weekend, but the clinic was great. It sold out and everyone seemed to get a lot out of the information we provided. Well, honestly, it was mostly information provided by Marty and Kathy Goody. I had it easy this time and just demonstrated the swim drills and answered questions when they arose. The HFFA center is super nice.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In a Rut

I don't know, I guess I have bloggers-block. Nothing seems very interesting for me to write about. So I figured posting pictures is an easy fix. From the Disney Half.

This is at Cinderella's castle - probably would've been a nice shot if it wasn't PITCH DARK! All of my pictures look like it's the middle of the night. I know we started early, but I think the later ones have more to do with the fact that it was so cloudy and rainy. I think it should've at least been dawn when I was towards the end. Anyways, the guy behind me was my wind blocker for a few miles. Obviously, this is before I ditched my last piece of clothing.

Not sure when this one was, but I sure look happy.

I was trying to sprint to the line here. Note the wheelchair behind me - I totally don't remember him at all. I hope I didn't do anything rude and cut him off on those last screwy corners.

And the finish. Commence all muscle lockup and freezing limbs in T minus 8 seconds.

Of course, this was Disney so they did some ridiculous pre-race music and speech show with the characters dancing around and waving to all of us standing at the start freezing. Mickey's voice is really creepy in general, but right before a race in the early morning, it's even creepier. I put this up here because I had an excellent spot to watch all this nonsense (similar to this picture, actually). If only I could get a spot like this to watch the Foo Fighters instead.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week in Review

This week was pretty uneventful. I was sore, I got a massage, I was sore, etc. The weather has turned really nice so we got to ride outside yesterday. I think it was the first time on my tri bike outside in a couple of months. I've been on the mountain bike a couple of times, but nothing very long. But now it's time to get back on the bike.

We had a Master's swimming social on Friday and that was a lot of fun. You don't always get a whole lot of conversation at morning practice so it was nice to hang out with everyone. The one guy looked at me and another girl and exclaimed, "Wow, you guys have long hair!" Another guy joked that he almost showed up in his jammers but his wife stopped him.

Last night we went to Tassie's best friend's mom's wedding. Cider occasionally makes an appearance on our blog and she's here with us for the week while Kristy and her new husband honeymoon in Cancun. The wedding was nice and the reception was really nice (in the Pavilion at The Angus Barn).

And today I ran with Kari at Umstead. I was supposed to run around 1:20, and she was supposed to run like 1:30 or a bit longer. Well, one bad decision later and we ended up with 1:50. I'm sore all over again!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too Quiet

It's been awfully quiet here in the Gaal house since I've been back. I miss Marty's inane banter and Tassie's paws click-clacking on the wood floors. But no worries - they are on their way back home right now!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Disney Half Marathon Race Report

If you don’t want to read the details, here’s the result.

Total time: 1:25:52
10th overall female
3rd in age group
1st 5K: 20:30 (6:36 pace)
2nd 5K: 20:25 (6:34 pace)
3rd 5K: 20:11 (6:30 pace)
Last 3.8 miles (6:31 pace)

I flew down to Orlando on Wednesday evening and Marty picked me up at the airport (he had driven down). We made our way over to Kissimmee which is where our condo was; we were staying with our Aussie friends, John and Bron – we hadn’t seen them in over 2 years! It was so great to spend several days with them. They were also doing the half marathon and were the reason why I decided to sign up (I got a lot of “why in the world are you doing DISNEY?!” from our friends in Orlando. Although it's a huge race, it’s not popular with the locals because of the logistics and expense).

As my last post stated, the weather forecast was absolute crap, and in fact it didn’t even get out of the 30’s over the weekend down there. To be completely honest, though, I wasn’t super worried about the weather during the race. It was the before and after that I knew would be brutal, but once you’re racing it’s not typically a big deal. And I’ve run in pretty crappy weather before and have had some good races in it. The only thing that was bumming me out a bit was that I really wanted to get a good time. Usually when the weather is bad you can say, ‘oh well, it’s bad for everyone’ but I could care less about everyone, I was concerned about the clock! And no matter what, rain/sleet and cold certainly don’t make you go any faster. But, whatever, right?

We had some fun prerace – watched the BCS Bowl Game at BW3’s with everyone, and had a pasta dinner at our condo on Friday night. The alarm went off at 2:55 am on Saturday morning. Yeah.

We all piled into John and Bron’s rented minivan and got an excellent parking spot. We hung out staying warm in there for awhile before I ventured out to drop off my bag and use the bathroom. It was cold, but what really got me was the wind. Back to the now fogged up van for some more warmth, another bathroom break in much longer lines with Bron before some more warmth in the van. While in the port-o-potty lines it started to SNOW. No lie. It apparently hadn’t snow flurried in Orlando since 1989.

Thankfully, Bron had bought us all poncho’s from a tacky tourist shop the day before and I put my on as the flurries turned into a light rain. Marty and another friend Chris walked/jogged with the mass of humanity to the start line (about 20min away). Along the way, I did one final bathroom break in the woods with several other people (it was dark). I was thankful that I had on 2 pairs of WalMart gloves as only 1.5 pairs made it out the woods :) I made it to my corral and gave Marty a quick kiss goodbye. I was in the elite wave, but it was still quite crowded so I wasn’t right at the starting line or anything. Here’s a picture of the start – I circled and pointed out myself (kind of towards the right side).

So standing in the corral, I had on my eventual race outfit (shorty tights, under armor sleeveless top). I also had on a throw away cotton long sleeve shirt, and throw away sweatpants and sweatshirt. And the poncho. Plus a throw away hoodie and 1.5 pairs of gloves. The poncho and sweats were shed about 5 min before the start. The hoodie was thrown off at around mile 2, the one extra glove at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, and the final cotton long sleeve was left around the half way point. I wasn’t exactly hot but getting rid of it felt like, “Okay, the gloves are off! Let’s do this!” I wasn’t cold for the rest of the race, but about 1min after crossing the line I was freezing.

The one thing I was most worried about was starting off too fast. I knew I needed to hold 6:38’s to run a 1:27, but I ended up being a little too conservative the first mile and came through in 6:47. I know it’s not too much off, but you don’t want to start in the hole right off the bat! I really should’ve been clued in by the fact that there was someone dressed up as Snow White running right with me – she was even wearing a wig. Thankfully, I picked it up a bit, got back on pace, and dropped Snow White.

After 3 miles (I think, I can’t really remember all these details totally), we turned and headed straight for the Magic Kingdom. Nothing says the happiest place on earth like getting pelted in the face with sleet. I found a pretty big dude and tucked right in behind him – I mean RIGHT in behind him. I doubt he even knew I was there. He was slowing a bit but the wind was pretty strong at this point and I figured it would be better to run a little slower and not fight it. I would’ve thanked him afterwards but I got ahead of him in Tomorrowland. But I truly appreciate his wind-blocking body :) At one point we turned out of the wind, and I was running next to him, but then we turned back into the wind so I went to go run behind him again, only to find someone took my spot! I said this out loud and the guy dropped back and let me in! How nice was that?!

Running through the Magic Kingdom was pretty neat, but it was over very fast. Pretty much you ran 6.5 miles to the park, ran around it for a couple of minutes, and ran 6.5 miles back to Epcot. The volunteers were great, but I think we all thought we’d get a little more Disney at this race and not so much regular road.

Back to the race. I felt good, I was able to hold it together and stay strong and even negative split the thing. I knew I was back on goal pace by the second mile and then just started adding :38 to what I should be at, and I was under each time – and that was growing pretty much every mile to the point where I was like :45 under where I should’ve been at that point (this was probably around mile 8 or 9). But then I convinced myself that I was not in fact under pace, but just slightly over pace, because I was off at the beginning. I don’t know why your mind gets dumb in these longer races (or maybe it’s just me) but it wasn’t until mile 12 where the math is easy that I realized I was under pace! And wait a minute, maybe I can break 1:26?

The last little part through Epcot was annoying as hell – too turny too close to the finish. The last couple of miles I could definitely feel my hips and calves tightening up quite a bit, but nothing I couldn’t deal with right then. I hit the 13 mile mark and saw it was already well into 1:25…..and now we sprint. I know I looked really gross that last .1 but I really, really wanted to get under 1:26 now. The overall clock time was going to be close, but I knew I had some breathing room because of where I started. In the end it turned out to be a :10 difference so my real time was 1:25:52.

I finished and immediately could barely walk. How you can go from running 6:30 miles to immediately not being able to walk is beyond me. They wrapped me up in a mylar blanket and like I said earlier, I was freezing right away. Marty met me as I was walking out of the finish chute and he had a big smile on his face, “Bri! 1:25?!” My initial reactions upon finishing are not always the best. This was my response: “Yeah. I’m happy. Uh…that was long. And kind of hard. I don’t know about this Triple T thing.” He just laughed and said we hadn’t signed up yet.

I made my way (very slowly) to get my bag, take a really gross finish picture and then back to the warm van. No cooling down after this one.

The rest of the day was lots of fun – went to see the in-laws and their very cute daughter, met up at a bar with a bunch of former FSU swimmers on I-drive, then over to our friend Dan’s house for a little get together. We got to catch up with several of our friends that all used to be in the running group down there – dang those people can make me laugh. I have to say, I definitely felt validated with my race when Dan told me I did really good. Coming from him made it seem real.

Okay, tired of typing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Worst Possible Running Weather

Here's the forecast for race time tomorrow:

Monday, January 4, 2010

1/2 Marathon Coming Up

This Saturday is the Disney 1/2 marathon. I've been training fairly well for it; it definitely could've gone better but it also could've gone a lot worse. I unfortunately missed some last key workouts last week due to being sick, but I felt like myself again for my last long run this past Saturday.

Goals for the race:
  • Under 1:30. I'll be really freaking upset if I don't hit this goal.
  • Realistic: 1:27. This is what I really want.
  • Over and above: sub 1:27. I'll be really freaking happy if I hit this goal.

I just don't have a lot to base my times off of, so really these goals are based off of what some of you girls have run - very scientific :) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get into an early wave. You had to put down an expected finish time and I put 1:27. Then you had to put a recent race result, and I don't have a recent 1/2 marathon time. So I ended up writing some little monologue about what my time was in my last 1/2 ironman and then a recent 5K time. I hope it worked. Based on last years times, if I can run a 1:27, I should be in the top 10 (or around there).

I was just reading the final race instructions and nothing gets you excited like these words: "If you are driving to the start line, please plan to arrive by 4:00 am!"

Yup, you read that correctly. First wave goes off at 5:40 am, and they want you there EARLY.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The American Triple T

The American Triple T has been going on for several years in Ohio - basically it is an iron-distance race over the course of a weekend (Friday - Sunday). It starts with a ridiculously short sprint on Friday night, then you do an Olympic distance on Saturday morning, then another Olympic distance Saturday afternoon, and then you finish with a half iron distance on Sunday morning.

This year, in addition to the one that they have in Ohio, they are also putting one on here in North Carolina at White Lake. When Marty saw this a couple of months ago he decided he wanted to end the season with it. My first reaction was, yeah, that sounds crazy. And people would ask me, "Bri, are you going to do it, too?" and I would shout, "Are you kidding? I hate long stuff!"

But then Marty told me more about it - you can do it as a team. The first two races (sprint and olympic) are individual races and both team members times count towards the team time. For the second two races (olympic and half), team members must finish together - and drafting is allowed for the team.

Marty was telling me in the car that he had asked our friend Nicolai if he would be interested in doing a team with him, but Nicolai couldn't commit (he's getting his MBA at Duke right now). So I said, obviously not thinking it through too much, "can I be on the team?" Marty turned to me wide-eyed, "would you want to be on my team?" I responded, "I guess?"

And there it is. We haven't decided on a name - maybe Team One Step Beyond, or Gottalottagaal, we're not sure yet. Definitely the fact that I'll be able to draft off of Marty made my decision. He'll dial down his swim and I'll sit on his feet, then draft off of him on the bike, and then we'll run together. Sounds like fun actually. And who better to handle any potential meltdowns than my own husband who has seen every side of me over the past 10 years? Not to mention he's already done 5 full Ironman's.

The only caveat would be if I get injured, then I obviously wouldn't race. This will be uncharted territory since my longest bike ride is 75 miles and my longest is 14 to date. But I figure with the extra mileage I'll have to put in, it will hopefully help my race 3 weeks prior at Nationals.