Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kure Beach Double Sprint Triathlon

Marty rode his bike to Wilmington on Friday (134 miles). I worked all day, packed up the car, and met him and Tom and Richard at a bar in downtown.

Saturday morning we ran an open water swim clinic and got to practice running into the surf and swimming in the waves. Then Marty and I checked out the Fort Fisher Aquarium.

We also got Tassie a present from the gift shop which she seems to enjoy.

This is a wacky race. It's like no other sprint triathlon you'll ever do because there are so many different things that are a part of this race that you don't normally have to worry about.

375M ocean swim
1.5 mile run
20K bike
1.5 mile run
375M ocean swim

The water was relatively calm - only some breakers at the beginning and then a bit of rolling for the rest of the swim, but this race has been seriously rough in the past, and sometimes is inundated with jellyfish so I count us as lucky this year.

Although there were several open women signed up, there were only 3 of us that made it to the starting line. There were a bunch of open males and open masters males and they decided to have a scrum at the start of the swim, so I said, "well, go ahead boys, I do not feel like fighting with you all today." I think I rounded the first buoy last in the wave :) But caught a few guys right after and came out right with the 2 other girls. A quick run up the beach to find your shoes, then some nice sugar sand running - not my favorite. We ran over the little foot bridge and then through the baby pools that are so nicely set out to clean off your feet. I was off and running and in first place very quickly. I also was able to pass a couple of the guys who beat me out of the water. The run is completely devoid of shade and with temps in the 90's and humidity off the charts it was really freaking hot.

I was by myself as I approached the next transition (different from the first) and was not directed into the correct entrance and had to turn around and backtrack. Cost me about 20 seconds and more annoyance than anything. I hopped on my new Cervelo P3 (or as I like to call it, the Bri-3! hahaha!) and the bike was pretty uneventful. I still find it hard to go super fast when I'm by myself, so think I most definitely could've gone faster and will keep working on it. I did not make it around the 2nd U-turn without unclipping -- I'm such a rookie! But that turn is TIGHT and has about a billion cones and cyclists coming out of transition right in the next lane. I got skerred.

Off the bike and now onto the 2nd 1.5 mile run. On the bike I saw I had a really big lead on the 2nd open female. I was able to catch one guy early on in the second run, but then it was by myself again. And it was so hot. And I definitely lost focus out there.

Back to the beach for the final swim. First, must run through the sugar sand and get rid of the shoes in my little spot. Then you have to run DOWN the beach about 300 yards, back up through the sand to go under the start banner and then finally in the water. This is the part of the race that is really annoying, and oops, also gotta get that swim cap back on the head which was not an easy task for me. But oh the water felt so good this time around. Ahhhh, I guess I should start swimming :)

I stayed nice and relaxed on the second swim - no one was ahead of me or behind so I enjoyed being out in the ocean. On the way back in I totally got smashed by a wave and then thought I was close enough to stand. Tried to touch the bottom....nope. But here comes another wave - try and body surf it in! Almost!! Got a little can I touch the bottom? Nope. At this point I realized I really needed to stop playing around in the surf and GET TO THE FINISH LINE!

Ended up 2nd overall to a girl who raced age group. Fun race and weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Got Lucky

Yesterday I walked into the cafeteria at work and saw the seating area was PACKED. They have a couple of flat screen tv's hanging up and during big sports events you can find a lot of workers hanging out (don't worry, we have wifi in there :) This is especially handy during the NCAA tournament since we have so many Duke and UNC grads. Anyways, unless you've been living under a rock, the US won their game yesterday against Algeria to move onto the next round. When I walked into the cafeteria, it was already 90 mintes into the game. I turned around and watched for a bit and.....GOAL! Everyone goes wild. So fun to see a bunch of serious scientists go crazy - what a fantasic moment in sports!

This video is pretty cool - reactions of people when we scored. See, we can like soccer, too.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Boone Training Camp

You may have already read Marty and Kari's blogs about this past weekend - and here's mine! A couple of months ago, Marty sent out an email to our athletes, some triathlete's on the master's team, and a couple of close friends to see if anyone had any interest in a training weekend in the mountain's. The interest was HIGH and within a week we had a full house. Within another 2 weeks we had more interest so a group rented another house! We were all very excited to escape the oppressing heat in the Raleigh-Durham area and get to Boone for some cooler temps and mountain riding.

Marty left in the late morning on Thursday with Tassie so Kari and Alysia picked me up from work in the afternoon, and thus began nonstop girl talk. Yes, we were the annoying three musketeers who even wore our matching Victorious Secret shirts on Saturday night.

Is Marty's t-shirt appropriate or what?!

Upon arriving to the house (which was SO MTV cribs) we quickly settled into a relaxing evening. Alysia made us a specialty drink from the Mellow Mushroom called Purple Haze which we called Purple Hooter all weekend because we are that mature.

Here's the beautiful sunrise from our back porch that we all got up to see each morning. Just kidding, Heidi, our early-riser, snapped this picture while the rest of us were fast asleep. Especially Kari. Note to self: DO NOT under any circumstances, wake Kari up in the morning.

Saturday morning we gathered in the kitchen/dining room to get all of our pre-ride instructions.

Our friend, Alisha, was leading the long ride group, I was leading the mid-range and Marty was leading the shorter ride. We also had Rachel driving SAG.

Our house was on a very, very steep hill. And before the turn for that hill was another steep, steep hill. It was seriously ridiculous. When we were driving in Thursday evening we were laughing/crying about riding up them. Of course, pictures never do hills justice, but trust me when I say it was crazy. Here are some of us comtemplating riding down the steep driveway. We all ended up having no problems going down.

Kari is quite incredible with taking pictures while riding...uphill.

So I may have misinterpreted our ride cue sheet and not that we got lost, but we missed a big chunk of the middle of our ride. It said after going over the viaduct, you will turn onto 221. Well, we went over some bridge like thingy and 221 was right there - I asked the group, is this a viaduct? To which everyone said, uh yeah? Anyways, no harm as we tacked on a bunch of the Blue Ridge Parkway and got some more great pictures.

We all did a short transition run off the bike, then this is what the house looked like in the afternoon.

After some lounging around, we regrouped for a 5mile run on a surprisingly flat greenway in Boone.

Training was done and it was time for dinner and games!

A group of us played Apples to Apples and it was a lot of fun, especially because I won :) I know, I am obnoxious, and truly I have toned it down from when I was younger - I don't know, I just get hyper-competitive in games like this. But we really did have a good time and I only yelled out I WON a couple of times, with a couple of AWW YEAHS thrown in. We did have total Victorious Secret domination, though, as Alysia finished 2nd and Kari was 3rd.

Saturday morning we went to Moses Cone park and a bunch of us ran to the Fire Tower.

I'm really not sure what the Gaal's are doing in this picture. Am I flexing? And why is Marty using MY shirt to clean his sunglasses?

After the run, we hit downtown Blowing Rock for some ice cream! YUM.

More naptime before we went to the pool for a long swim.

The pool was competely empty! So we took every lane but one just in case someone else came to swim. No one did so we ended up taking that lane, too. We did have some locals stare at us for a long time, apparently, no one swims in this place.

Some people did 5,000 meters. I was not one of them.

We had a huge dinner that night.

And more purple hooters :)

The doggies had lots of fun, too. Mocha and Alex (boys) were constantly wrestling and Tassie wanted in so bad, but they kept ignoring her - poor Taz! But she did get lots of foot massages from everyone that stayed at the house. There was one morning where we actually had another totally random dog in the house. He apparently waltzed up the back steps and in through the porch, then laid down in the middle of the kitchen with everyone milling. It wasn't until Marty said, "Where did this dog come from?" when everyone realized he wasn't supposed to be there (oh, another dog?). Turned out it was the AC repairman's.

After dinner we had a very energetic game of pictionary. After 2 hours (and the team I was on was in the lead, ahem), it was decided that we must stop playing and have a worm-off. What is a worm-off you ask? It's when people do the worm and everyone judges on who's is the best.

This then devolved into a total dance party. I may have also shown everyone how I can clog.

I bet there are not many tri camps that end up like this!!

The next morning was the last day of camp - sad!! Some people had to leave early Sunday, so it was smaller groups for riding. But Kari, Alysia, Erin and I found that dang viaduct!

The group (minus a few) - great weekend!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend Recap

  • Open water swim clinic at one of the Jordan Lake beaches on Saturday morning. Warm water and a great group. I got to paddle around on Marty's rescue board which was super fun.
  • Hot run afterwards through Bond Park. At least it's shady in the park, not so much on the run to and from. I made it an hour and it was the opposite of fast, but it's something. I'm slowly going to work on building up the run mileage again.
  • PT appointment with the always awesome Lori von Alten. She is fantastic but the appointments are highly frustrating. This is a common conversation: "Ok, Bri. Try and use (some muscle) to lift (some appendage)." "Am I using it?" "Nope." "Now?" "Nope."
  • Helped Marty mark up the swim caps for the morning. It was getting late and some people got some silly nicknames on theirs.
  • 5am wake up to get out to New Hope Overlook for the Jordan Lake Challenge. Two cars packed full of t-shirts, awards, soda, ice, cooler, bikes, and 2 surfboards.
  • Marty successfully unlocked the gate without any trouble - biggest worry going into the morning!
  • I manned the packet pickup table with Kari who so nicely offered to help us out. We were cool under pressure when the line got long. No matter what happens in the future, she will always have a job at the Gap seeing as she can neatly fold a t-shirt and stuff it into a tiny bag in 0.5 seconds.
  • Oh yeah, we both did the race, too. I think we warmed up about 20 yards.
  • Race went good - finished in 25:27 and 1st in my age group. I was the 10th female overall.
  • Marty, Kari and I had a steamy bike ride afterwards on the rural roads of whereever the heck we were. I saw a sign for Sanford at one point.
  • And then because she obviously hadn't gotten enough of us, Kari and Bobby met us out at the Flying Saucer later on for some cold beers and yummy pretzels.
  • I crashed hard that night and slept like a zombie!!

On tap for this weekend - cycling camp in Boone! We have a great group of friends and athletes going with us and I can't wait for Thursday to get here when we drive out there!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coming Soon...

When we lived in Orlando, Marty and I used to go to Tijuana Flats a lot. This is a great Tex-Mex restaurant that has yummy fresh food, good prices and buckets of beer. Does that have Gaal written all over it or what? It was started by a couple of UCF students (my alma mater) and I think there were 2 restaurants when we were there.

They franchised and kind of exploded in Florida over the past few years. They've also started popping up in other in states, including one in Raleigh. Even though it's not that far away (~20 min) Marty and like to stick in our own little 5 min radius bubble so we hadn't been out there yet. But last night I had a hankering for some T-Flats so there we were for dinner. And the nice lady at the counter told us that they were going to be opening one in Cary in December. Sweet!

And even better news - it's going right next door to our favorite grocery store (Trader Joe's) and just down the street from my favorite ice cream shop (Goodberry's).

I love this town.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge

As one may have deduced, Marty has a deep love for swimming. He’s not just fast, he relishes in it, particular in the open water and more particularly in the ocean. He declared about 2 years ago that he wanted to put on some open water swim races in the area since we had several lakes but no races. I said, ‘Sounds good, Marty. Go for it.’

Now we’re in the 2nd year of the Triangle Open Water Swim Series, with the 2nd race of the season occurring this Sunday at Jordan Lake. Marty dove head first into figuring out what he needed to do to get this going (all the permits, logistics, safety, personnel). We also teamed up with the group at FS Series and they co-own the series with us – I can’t say enough great things about them.

The swims are fairly low-key events, but we received good feedback from last year and it seems like people enjoy the events. We added another date this year that now includes a 2 mile and 1 mile swim. We’re hoping to keep them going for years to come and have them continue to grow. Last year at the Jordan Lake swim we had around 120 swimmers; right now we have just over 150 signed up for Sunday so we’re moving in the right direction!

We donate some of our proceeds to the pool we swim at, and the rest covers the costs of putting the race on. This year we have a couple of sponsors which helps out (we certainly aren’t getting rich off of these swims anytime soon ;)

Anyways, I hope if you’re racing you have a good time and come back out again! I’ll see you at packet-pickup and in the water.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Breezy Point Race Report

Marty, Tassie and I drove up to Virginia on Saturday afternoon. It was HOT. We made it to my sister's house and Tassie reunited with Jessie the Great Dane. Jackson is the newest addition (another Great Dane) and he is one big, dumb, happy dog. Those are the best :)

Here they are all sitting for cookies.

What the heck were we watching?!

I checked out the entry list and saw some familiar names from racing up in this neck of the woods a few times now. And another name that looked slightly familiar. So I did what any triathlete does (you know you all do) and googled her -- oh, she is very fast. Way faster than me right now (I'm a realist). Goal is now to finish 2nd.

I had fun hanging out with sister, niece, and bro-in-law (who was also racing the next day) on Saturday night. We ate pizza and made homemade cookies. Did I mention that I'm not very serious right now? More on that later.

Sister and niece braved the hot temperatures and searing sun to cheer us on the next morning. THANK YOU, HEATHER!!! It's so nice to have someone out there letting you know where your competition is and giving words of encouragement (and taking pictures, even if she takes a lot of butt shots).

We got to the race site with enough time to take care of all matters of business and found out that for the first time in 19 years, no wetsuits would be allowed. Did I mention it was hot? And windy (it's not called Breezy Point for nothing!) I got in the water for a warmup swim and swam right into a jelly fish. Then my arm started burning. I got out the water and decided I didn't really need to warmup today.

The swim was good - I drafted off of one guy for most of the race and hoped he was siting well because I wasn't doing much of that. I was pleasantly surprised to be not too far behind fast girl. I know I shouldn't always feel like this, but I will probably never come to terms with the fact that I'm actually a pretty good swimmer. When you don't have that background and have come out of races last in your wave, it's hard to let that stuff go. I was the 3rd girl out of the water (1st was a really fast swimmer).

Oh yeah, did I also mention that this is only my SECOND triathlon of the year?! Usually by this time I've done a good handful but with the stupid foot injury I missed a couple I would've done. I felt this in transition as I was fumbling around more than normal. Not sure if I'll be racing this bike again - we're going with the Cervelo!

I don't like the first half of this bike. It's so chopped up and bumpy and I just felt like I couldn't get going. The second half was much better and I caught the first girl out of the water, now moving into 2nd place (she was very nice, I chatted with her before the start - I think she maybe swam at Purdue?). It was windy out there, I think windier than last year, but my bike was pretty poor, regardless.

Marty heading out of T2.

Back off the bike and my sister yells that I'm 2:30 down on first (no surprise). I was also a couple of minutes up on 3rd place so just put it in cruise control and didn't run super hard. Don't get me wrong, I did run hard, but not past that comfortable fast pace. My run IS starting to come around but sometimes I don't feel the need to kill myself when it's not going to make a difference, especially in a low priority race.

Seriously, could you imagine a more desolate finish? It's also a nice strong headwind in addition to being completely devoid of shade and very hot.

Smiling for the camera as I finish up.

Alicia Parr wrote a great blog the other day about the 'Importance of Hunger' and I couldn't have written it better myself. Mostly because I'm not as good of a writer as she is :) I'm hoping to put forth a good showing at Nationals in September, and there is no way I can be very disciplined right now. Disciplined meaning not missing workouts here and there, and really focusing and performing each one to a high ability. I like to have balance and I know I wouldn't make it to September if I were to be so serious right now (and I know some of you CAN do this - but you have to know what works for you). But very soon I will be more serious, and hopefully come September I'll be in great shape for myself.

Things that will be changing:
  • Swim more than twice a week
  • Bike more than 75 miles a week
  • Run more than 15 miles a week

I know this is ridiculously low training, and I can be semi-competitive in a sprint off of this, but there's no way I would expect to do this and be competitive in an Olympic distance. I also really need to stay injury free on the run, something that hasn't happened since the Disney half marathon in January.

Okay, blah, enough of that, here are more pictures :)

Despite what this photo may indicate, I'm really not a giant.

Ashleigh and I did this pose last year:

So we tried to recreate it this year.

The Godfather imparting words of wisdom.

Hanging out at the post race party.

Seriously, good luck to Crystal and Janet who are both racing Eagleman this weekend.