Thursday, September 28, 2017

Catch Up Post

It's going to be one of those bullet point posts since a lot has happened and I do want to document this stuff as my once stellar memory is starting to fail me. I see the evidence when I play the game 'Memory' with Logan (who incidentally, has a fantastic memory).
  • We had lots of fun weekends and weeks during the summer, which included lake houses, a trip to the mountains, a Guns n Roses concert and a full week vacation to the OBX (Outer Banks for those of you not in NC)
  • Logan started kindergarten AND lost his first tooth on the first day!
  • My best girlfriends from college came to Raleigh for a long weekend. We had way too much fun and stayed up way too late.
  • Last weekend (ok, not anymore since I started and then stopped this blog) I once again was on a team for the Blue Ridge Relay (206 miles from Virginia to Asheville).  RUNNINGJUSTASFASTASWECAN and RUNNINGJUSTASFASTASWECAN2 both had 8 intrepid people on the team. I ended up running 26+ miles over 5 different legs. I am very sore still (3 days later) but had another fantastic time. I also kept it interesting for my team as I got lost on my 3am run and ended up getting picked up by another team (who also got lost). 
  • I signed up for Ironman Texas. 
Whoah. Wait. Back up. I DID WHAT?

Yup. Pulled the trigger. Put too much money on the credit card for something I really thought I would never do. And then had a pretty rock bottom meltdown at midnight googling on my phone "how to cancel Ironman registration"

It took about a week but I'm all good now :) So why did I sign up? I guess there's always that little inkling of wanting to complete one. I've watched Marty finish 6 of them. And it's pretty much impossible NOT to be a inspired. Even so, I knew the training involved and never felt that was something I really wanted to do. And you really need to want to do that training.

Enter in very good friends who started talking about it. Friends I train with a lot. This would be the only way I get this done, by having a hand to hold, shoulder to cry on, and partners in crime throughout the journey. I'm not interested in qualifying for Kona or racing it - I want to have fun with my friends and get to the start line in one piece. If I can get there, I can get it done.

So why Texas? The timing of the race enticed us all. Definitely not the winter training, but for the most part you can do the training outside in NC. There will for sure be cold days, but I've actually trained through the past two winters and it's not too terrible. Most of the time. Anyways, it was more the fact of getting it done and out of the way before summer starts and family time is at a premium. One thing I didn't want was to train through the summer and miss all the fun stuff with Logan and Marty. This way I put my head down in winter, do the IM in late April and voila! Summer time is fun time.

So yup. Pretty momentous for me. I still have one last sprint this weekend and Marty and I are teaming up for the SwimRun NC at the end of October (that should be interesting....) and then it will be a short down time before training starts back up.

Go read Marty's blog for more interesting life stuff.

Here are a few pics from the past month or so.

Cuties at Chuck E. Cheezits (as Logan calls it). Or Chuck E. Diseases, as one of our friends refers to it.

5 Family Beach week. Not my kid but we all shared responsibilities.

The solar eclipse is that way!

This one is either going to love me or hate me when we get through our Ironman training.

Family photo op

Riding our bikes to get some post dinner ice cream

Hole in one! For real life.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Summer Summer Time!

Helllllllo, summer! July welcomed us with a blast of heat and humidity no one is ever ready for, no matter how long you have lived in the south. When your temperatures are in the 90's with 90% humidity it feels like "OMG I can't breathe" whenever you step outside. It is truly miserable.

So what do we do? Rack up money on the power bill and go to the pool. Accept that when you run, 1min per mile slower is actually fine, and drink water all day long to make up for the sweaty mess you became during the piddly 1.5 hour bike ride at 9am.

I'm still training, although no where near as seriously. Basically, I'm training so I can continue my dessert addiction and not be too self conscious about wearing a bikini out in public. I mean, I am 38. When does it stop being appropriate? (As an aside, when is it time for me to take out my belly button ring?)

I took some good rest and downtime immediately following the Chattanooga 70.3. This is, I believe, something many of us don't do right. Especially after an 'A' race. Sure, you take a few days, but dang it, you are feeling soooo good! Might as well keep on training; hard group ride? IN! Track workout? YES! I promise, this will likely lead to burnout or severe fatigue. After a long course race that you've been putting in some serious effort, your body needs a good break. At least 2 weeks. Don't be fooled by the 1 week honeymoon phase that happens after a short rest. It is a liar.

Anywho. Took some rest. 4 weeks later I raced in the 3 Little Pigs triathlon (my 4th time). I ended up having my fastest time ever on that course, so that was neat, although Marty beat me by 11 seconds (damn time trial start!). Then it was off to Boone for our 8th Boone Camp!! I love, love, love Boone Camp. And I love, love, love the people who join us. It is always super fun with some crazy hard hill training.

After Boone, Marty and Logan continued on vacation-ing while I went back home because, work. The week alone was nice and very busy so it flew by even though I really missed my boys (and missed a bunch of fun vacation things, too). And here we are in July already. No tri's for me until late September. Although I will do our open water swim race in a couple of weeks, and am on a team for the Blue Ridge Relay again (early September). The one 'race' I haven't been thinking about AT ALL is the SwimRun NC that's at the end of October. Marty signed us up for this last year after he volunteered. Mostly I'm worried about cold water and blisters. But the race does seem like it will be a fun adventure.

View from our bedroom in Boone
We went tubing down the New River this year

One of our campers climbing Snake Mountain

Sitting on the edge thinking about every excuse to not swim while Carrie pretends to dive in

We made it to the top of Snake, too!

Climbing to our house. This picture does not do the hills justice AT ALL

Before our Friday ride

That's the Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the upper right of this pic. We climbed up there and then road the Blue Ridge back home.

We always make a visit to the App Mountain Brewery. This year, we made two visits.

Everyone flex. Except Marty. You just grab Bri's butt.

Heading off around Bass Lake before we ran up to the fire tower

Seriously. This is where we ran. Crazy beautiful.

Competitive game of Hearts on Steroids Saturday night.

So happy to see this 5 year old after 8 days!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 Race Report

This went well: 2nd age group, 7th amateur female, PR 4:28:07*

This guy gets the credit. Super dad – letting me train until my heart was content for this race. Super coach – writing me an awesome plan. Super supporter – taking the bulk of the work while in Chattanooga so I could relax.

My training squad is a group of awesome ladies who are so motivating and supportive. Carrie-Anne-Morgan-Michelle-Amanda-Cari (and the boys who we call fast girls). You guys are awesome.
Theme music for the weekend: Anything from Trolls, which Logan watched no less than 6 times in the car ride over and back.

Video of the week: endless pool swimming in the Tennessee River the day before. That’s me in the front, sighting and thinking, “But that buoy isn’t that far away? Why am I not getting any closer?”

My taper went perfectly; I immediately got sick :) I was on a constant diet of airborne and zicam and literally by the day before the race I had cleared out all the congestion. We stayed in a condo right on the river away from downtown and the nerves/high strung personalities that these Ironman races tend to attract. My own obsessiveness revolved around checking the weather every hour. 100% chance of thunderstorms – oh please don’t cancel anything! A bad thunderstorm rolled through the night before, but, and I’m no Al Roker, the line just wasn’t that wide. Surely it would be through before the start of the race?
Swim: 16:02
Flanked by the best couple to be around, Anne and Dave Mac, we made our way to the swim line up very early so we could get a good spot. No rain, just cooler temps and cloudy skies (amazing! Maybe I am Al Roker!). All queued up in an orderly fashion, we sit down and wait. But then an Ironman worker comes walking by and yells, “OK everyone! This is a self-seeded started! So if you’re a fast swimmer, move to the front!” Instead of a line, people rushed to the front and it now looked like a street concert. And this self seeding business was total bs - people were lying their faces off worse than a pool swim back home. But no worries! It was still 1.2 miles, some of it upstream so it would get sorted out. Or would it? Dun dun dun!!!!!!

Apparently, the officials decided the pro's were taking too long to make the first initial upstream turn and didn't think us weak age groupers in our wetsuits could handle it so they took that part away and we were now only going to do a very short, downstream swim. Forget about getting much separation from the competition - people I probably would've gotten 6+ minutes on I might get 1-2min now. And there were so many people ahead of me, AUGGHHHHH PANIC!!!! Anne must've read all this on my face and firmly talked me off the cliff (thanks, Anne). I then turned to Dave and told him I was moving up, so the two of us were able to leapfrog probably 100 or so people.

This swim was a mess. I passed people the entire time; there were bodies everywhere. I never felt great and couldn't get into a good rhythm (and Dave and I lost each other immediately upon jumping into the water). It was over quick.

Logan relaxing with a nap and cartoons at Hotel de MacDonald after his initial wakeup at 3:45am

Bike: 2:27:18
I felt awesome on the bike! So, so good that there were times I felt like I should push a little bit more but then reconsidered (reminding myself that I did still have to run a half marathon after this). A couple of girls passed me in my age group but I wanted to ride my race, not theirs. And I wasn't even thinking about placement in my age group.

The bike was also very crowded and absolutely we all got the benefit of having so many people on the road - whether you were drafting or not. It's like a vacuum pulling you through, and with virtually no wind and a rolling but not difficult course, the times were smoking. There were for sure draft packs out there - sometimes you didn't have a choice in some of the tighter sections to be blocking someone or in the draft zone, but I also feel like you definitely had the ability to decide if you were go to blatantly suck wheel and take advantage of it or try to get out and race clean. I was mostly around guys and boy there were some that clearly had low moral standards with regards to cheating. I didn't see a ton of girls, but the ones I saw I can at least put in the camp of trying not to draft. But if you start 3000+ athletes within 20min of each other, in an easy swim that takes no time, the bike is going to be packed.

I really enjoyed the bike, though. I just felt SO GOOD. I was literally smiling at mile 50 thinking, I love this! This is awesome! I was diligent about my nutrition and took everything as planned. I don't have power or use a heart rate monitor, but my Garmin was beeping every 5 miles and I knew I was holding an excellent pace. I guess I'm still a little old school with that aspect. For a race like this, I go to the point where I feel like I'm pushing just a little too hard and then back off. It works for me.

Run: 1:39:19
No joke, I heard 'Can't Stop the Feeling' from Trolls at the beginning of my run (that's my jam!). The first few miles were all smiles and high fives. They were easy and smooth. I did ended up taking my gels earlier than planned as I needed a boost but the first lap was relatively uneventful. I was definitely getting tired but also felt like I was going to have enough left in the tank and mentally I was on point and ready to fight through any tough spots. I was so happy to finally see Marty and Logan!

The temps were cooler, but the humidity was sky high and I allowed myself to walk through the later aid stations so I could grab coke and water (wow, coke, you're awesome). I also thought about my friends back home tracking me and Marty sacrificing weekends for this (self-centered) pursuit. And then when it really started to hurt, I thought of a friend who recently got some scary news - this girl is an amazing athlete (and person) who never quits, and is always digging to get it done. I often found myself saying, "Would SHE quit now? Would SHE go slower?" It helped tremendously.

There was one short but steep hill that I gave myself permission to walk up the second time around (Would SHE walk up this hill? Hmmm, actually I think SHE might :) ) but anytime I was running I was moving pretty well. I really feel like I weathered the low points well and was able to push out of them and hold it together, which is something I have struggled with in the past. I did start dealing with some quad cramping which was completely new to me and freaking hurt like hell. But then I was at mile 12 and knew I could pick it up a little bit and finish strong. Yay to getting to take the turn to the finish instead of starting another loop and double yay to slapping Logan's hand in the final stretch. 7:34 average pace - I'll take it!

Post Race
I collected my award after showering and having a late lunch with friends. I passed on the World's slot and hopefully made someone else's day letting it roll down. I'm happy with how it all went and had a lot of fun training and racing for it, but now I'm ready to get back to more low key training and having a fun summer with family and friends.

Waynesville has a great recreation center with a splash park for the kids we went to on the way back home

*Big asterisk next to this PR since the swim was so short. Who really knows where I would've been, but I could guess my swim would've had another 12min to it. Which would have probably also slowed down the bike a bit. I'll say I may have still been under 4:50 but eh, doesn't really matter at this point.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Trip Down Memory Lane - Half Iron Style

I’m about 2.5 weeks out from the Chattanooga 70.3 and I’m feeling good about my training. I’ve been consistent with my swimming which is feeling great right now, I’ve been outdoor riding all winter and the run seems to be coming around. Now let’s take a short trip into the brief history of Bri’s half iron distance races.

#1: 2004 – Duke Liver Center Half (doesn’t exist anymore). Did you know that Marty and I blogged before it was called blogging? Some of the stuff got lost in cyberspace but here’s my race report from this race! We got married that year, I was working at Lockheed Martin, and finishing my MBA (we were living in Orlando). We had 3 hurricanes roll through during the summer (on the weekends) and I was also a very weak biker and swimmer. I was still running fast not so far removed from college, but not in this long event. I finished thinking, nope, not doing that again. I don’t know if the results are anywhere, but I think I did something like 36min, just under 3hrs, a little under 2hrs. 5:33 total time is what my race report says.

#2: 2005 – Duke Liver Center Half (why oh why did we go all the way up to NC AGAIN for this darn race?) This race report also exists!  Not a whole lot faster than the prior year. I just frankly didn’t train that much :) Race report says I was 8min faster so I guess I did a 5:25 this time around.

#3: 2007 – White Lake Half. I was in great shape this year – having traveled the world the prior year and getting to ride my bike a lot. We moved to NC late in 2006 but I didn’t get a ‘real’ job until March of 2007 so the in between time I had lots of time to train. There is a race report floating around somewhere for this one but I can’t find it. I can look at my splits since these are still around - RESULTS  That run split makes me laugh. I literally couldn’t do that if I was shot out of a cannon downhill now :) Of note at this race (that apparently I’m still steamed about) is I got my first (and so far only) penalty. I will never forget the talk I had with the official after the race. Apparently, someone passed me and I dropped back. He said, “oh yeah, I could see you were clearly dropping back, but you didn’t get XX bike lengths back within 15 seconds. Sorry.” So yes, I guess I technically did deserve the penalty (?) except I do believe that the official might have made a judgment call and saw that I wasn’t intentionally drafting and did completely get out of the zone so maybe a 4min penalty wasn’t really warranted? Incidentally, they were throwing out penalties left and right at this race and at the sprint the next day. I’ve never seen another local race like that in terms of penalties. Final time was 4:40:36 (4:44:36 with penalty). 

#4: 2013 - Raleigh 70.3. I really was done with long stuff after White Lake. I felt like I nailed that race and probably would never get into that shape again. And still, I just didn’t love the long stuff. Sprints and Olympics it was! And then I had Logan! Then more sprints! Then we hear that Ironman is bringing a 70.3 to town and everyone and their brother is doing. Oh all right, I’ll sign up. Then I got to around March and had tremendous mom guilt and decided not to do it. I trained how I liked (short) and didn’t worry about it. THEN in early May we did The Raven Rock Ramble (60mile bike ride) and an 11 mile long with the OSB crew. I realized I could just do it for fun and not really race. So that’s what I did, and it was fun, until the last 4 miles of the run. I was undertrained, it was hot AF, the course was awful and I had major stomach issues. I finished in 5:15, 4th in my age group and got a Worlds’ spot which I declined. Not my thing. Here’s my race report.

So this will be #5*. I’m in much better shape than #1, #2 and #4 but not like #3. Still, I’m excited for the race and am hoping to feel good all the way to the finish!

*I technically did another half iron distance last year as part of the American Triple T, but that race is so different I wasn't sure I could count it. So maybe this is really #6.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Belews Lake International Triathlon Race Report

It’s not often you get to race right next to your bestie, but that’s exactly what Carrie and I got to do at the Belews Lake International triathlon last Saturday. Going into the race we were both looking for a great workout and lots of fun. Since we train together all the time we thought it would be fun to take the pressure off and stick with each other throughout. This race worked out perfectly since they start athletes 2 by 2, every 15 seconds. As luck would have it, we got to start together. The swim was awesome. We were next to each other the entire way, moving through the water at a very comfortable but great (for us) pace. It was wetsuit legal and with the rolling start there weren’t any crowds to contend with. We took our time in transition, drying off and putting on warm clothes since it was only in the low 40s. The 27 mile rolling bike was fairly uneventful and Carrie kept her distance behind me – way beyond the draft zone. Our friend Dave Mac caught us right at the end, yelling at each of us to be sure that we KNEW it J A little, ok, a lot of extra time was taken in T2 as I talked Carrie out of quitting the sport (long story) before we set off on the rolling 10K run. We chatted most of the way, until I got a terrible side stitch (probably from talking too much!!) but we still wound up running a decent pace.  Super fun race – goal accomplished! We capped off the afternoon with a late lunch at Natty Greene’s brewpub with the rest of our gang. Thanks, once again, to super dad Marty for manning the fort while I spent all day away. Next race: Chattanooga 70.3!

Post race. Daniel put up with a lot driving the 1hr40min there and back with us.

Logan is enjoying playing T-Ball for the first time.

Relieved some mom guilt at an ice cream shop and a park with this cute guy. Cars in hand, of course.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Last minute triathlon race report

Marty was supposed to do the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon this past Saturday and Logan and I were either going to hang out back home or watch Marty and hit the beach if the weather was nice.  Early in the week the weather was looking pretty good so we were tentatively planning on the latter. Then Marty’s mom, who lives in Florida, got very sick so he and Logan high tailed it down there and all of the sudden I was left to my own devices here in NC. I was thinking of movies and sleeping in and great training without any time constraints. Then this girl says, “Now you can do the Sampson County Super Sprint with us!” hmmmmm oof. A super sprint was not really in my plans and trying to wrap my head around that was a little difficult. Although they are short, if done right, they hurt the entire time (spoiler alert: that’s exactly how it ended up feeling).

Several other friends were going to do this race and we all planned to ride 50 miles after to get our long ride for the weekend in on country roads.  The weather ended up being awesome; I had done this race back in 2013 and it was FREEZING and I had vowed never to do it again. This year was perfect.

I started 10 seconds behind Carrie in the time trial pool swim start and let’s be honest, this is a definite advantage. I promised her that if we do another pool swim this year I will make sure she starts behind me (There. It’s in writing). Just 250 yards, and the end of it was messy with open turns and slower people. Got out and ran as fast as possible to transition. Literally every second counts in these short races! The 7 mile bike is out and back with several turns where I was able to see that I was still holding around a 10 second gap to Carrie. Then towards the end of the bike I got a little held up with some cars on the course and literally thought that was probably the race. Out on the run (2 miles) I was hoping that my piriformis/hamstring issue didn’t flare up and although I was breathing like a freight train and it was very hard, I actually felt ok. And Carrie was ever so slightly coming back to me. I finally got almost up to her shoulder before she put in a late surge (Dangit! DO NOT let all that hard work go to waste!) but was able to hold it together to the finish line where she crossed just in front of me. Time wise I finished 8 seconds ahead of her, and she finished 1 second ahead of 3rd place!! Talk about a tight race!

Afterwards we changed for our bike ride which was super windy but an awesome workout and finished up with burgers and milkshakes at a local eatery around corner from the race site. Fun race, fun people, fun day. (PS - Marty's mom is doing well!)

Don't let the smiles fool you into thinking we weren't sputtering messes at the finish line.

Logan had it tough in Florida. Here he is watching cartoons after an evening swim.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February Things

It’s February 23rd and currently 71 degrees outside. Wait, did we move back to Florida without me realizing? Nope – just an unusually warm winter here in the southeast. Not going to lie, I’m sort of loving it. You can still wear pants and long sleeves and not be too hot, but you’re not freezing every time you step out the door. Although, I think we’re all holding our breath for what the summer may bring.

Our recent excitement has revolved around where Logan is going to go to Kindergarten next fall.  If you think it’s as easy as walking to your neighborhood school you would be wrong. Here in NC there are all sorts of trip wires and booby traps to get through. 2+ years ago we specifically moved into a neighborhood with a great school. Then as he got closer to Kindergarten, we started considering trying to get him into a ‘magnet’ school (public school but with a special focus). There are several different types of magnet schools in our area, and it’s a lottery to get in, but the different groups in order they select from are based on 3 different criteria.  The criteria is mostly around if you already live in an area with a high performing school that is at or above capacity (yes to both of those for us). Since he has been going to a Spanish immersion daycare for the past 3.5 years, we thought it would be great to have him continue with that and hopefully he really will grow up to be bilingual.  So we put our name in the hat for a dual language magnet school, that is not at all close to our house. If he didn’t get in there, we would apply for the year round elementary school near our house and if that fell through, he’d be at his base school (both of these schools are rated very high).  We found out last Thursday that he DID in fact get into the magnet/Spanish immersion school – YAY!!!! And crap, that is going to be lots of driving. But we’ll make it work. We both believe it will be a great skill to know both English and Spanish.

So if you followed that closely enough, you’ll realize that we moved to get into a good school district, that he’s not going to, but the reason he got into the magnet program was because of where we moved to. So. Weird.

Switching gears - here’s my favorite picture from earlier this year of me and Carrie passing the baton at the Occoneechee Speedway Relay.

Training has been going great, mostly due to this girl who keeps it fun and pushes me all the time. Like throwing my paddles across the pool deck so I can’t use them (they are a bit of my baby blankie), only to have our friend trip on them while walking out of the locker room. Woops.

And while we’re here, let’s talk about swimming. I’m in my happy place – many things have converged to form a perfect swimming set up (for me). My company has a great pool on site so Marty and I can now swim for free. They keep it a touch warm (which I LOVE) and I can meet the aforementioned paddle thrower at the completely civilized time of 6:30am and get in a solid 3K before picking up breakfast at one of our cafeteria’s and getting to my office just after 8am. Years of getting up at 5:15am with a bad attitude because I then had to jump into a freezing pool seem like a distant memory.