Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beach Weekend!

Towards the end of vacation the other week I was all, 'poo, vacation is almost over.' But then I realized - in two weeks it's beach weekend! We've been planning this forever. It's so hard to get everyone's schedules in the summer synched up to find a free weekend.

It's me and my girls (and the husbands will be joining us) in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, which is south North Carolina - is that confusing? Just a bit above the border. Of course, we will be getting in some swim/bike/run workouts, along with beachin (real term, not to be confused with bitchin - there will be none of that), loungin, eatin, drinkin, laughin, golf cart ridin, and grillin.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Last weekend and most of last week was almost unbearably hot. All days reached close to 100 degrees and the 'feels like' temperature was well over that. It gets hot here in NC, but that was way above normal for us. It was reminiscent of playing basketball in an un-air conditioned gym in the summer during high school in Florida. Those games were so hot and humid that if you ended up on the court you would slide for 10 yards before coming to a stop. Fun times.

Anyways, it's really hard to feel good working out when it's that hot - particularly in running. And I have just been resigned to the fact that every run is going to feel crappy and I've tried not to worry about it.

So yesterday when it was only in the high 70's and raining I felt like a new person! Marty and I did fartlek and I WAS RUNNING! Not gasping for breath and feeling like every muscle was seizing up on me.

Even when I was walking to our cafeteria in the middle of the afternoon and it was *only* 90 I thought, wow! it sure does feel nice out here! That's when I realized it had been way too hot recently. I really hope we are done with those days where the feels like temperature is 110.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Master's Showdown at the Big Deuce

At the Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge we put on about a month ago, me and fellow OSB Master's swimmer, Erik, were only separated by one second. The men and women started in different waves so it wasn't like we actually swam together (the men started 5min ahead), but when I saw the results I milked it for all it was worth. See, Erik is a MUCH faster swimmer than I am in the pool - we don't even swim in the same lane! And because I'm so endearing, I said to him (at least once a week): "Hey, Erik. 1 second." And then I would smile. He knew I was kidding and therefore just laughed and told me he couldn't wait for the showdown at the Big Deuce. I laughed, too, and knew paybacks were hell.

I helped with packet pickup the night before and then the morning of, which was really busy. Thank god Kari came early. I barely said hello; just barked a couple of orders at her and she got to work helping me check people in. We shut down pickup at 7am since the race was to go off at 7:15. We had just enough time to get in the warm water and splash around a bit.

This was a beach run in start - yay! I took off high stepping and dolphin dove my way right behind Kim Rice before a bunch of people swam on by. We took a left at the first turn buoy and many more people swam by me. It was a two loop swim and my plan was to take it very conservative the first loop and a half, before trying to pick it up towards the end. Towards the end of the first loop, I took a bad line and saw a string of people over to my right that I really wished I was with. They put some distance on me before I could correct myself and angle towards the buoy, and were long gone by the time I got there. It would've been nice to get some draft out there, but sometimes it doesn't work like that.

We had a canoe just after the first lap in case people needed to stop and get some water or gatorade (the water temp was around 86 degrees). I wasn't going to waste any time stopping, though. Almost halfway through the second loop and I see this man swimming right next to me...hey, I recognize that's Erik! I tried to smile and say "Hey!!" while I was breathing, but this is actually much harder in reality than it was when I was thinking it. I took the next turn buoy really tight (about 1/2 mile to go now) and thought, "Oh, it's ON!" I really tried to pick it up and added in a kick - unfortunately there was some wind chop on this side so it was a little more difficult to get a good long stroke in, but I noticed he wasn't next to me anymore. Go go go! I can do this! I was nearing the last turn buoy to head home when I decided to take a long breath and glance behind me - and guess who was right on my feet. DANGIT!!! The final turn in he turned it on big time and even though I knew I had NO chance of outsprinting him (which was why I tried to drop him before the end), I thought just maybe he wouldn't get out of the water quick enough and I could run by him at the end - I wasn't above elbowing him at the line for the 'win' ;) But no dice, he ran out of the water and got me by 4 seconds. I'm thinking I might hear, "Hey Bri. 4 seconds." A lot in the coming Master's practices.

Incidentally, it occurred to me on the extremely hotter than Hades bike ride we did with a group of friends after that I have now done more open water swims this year than triathlons! What is up with that?!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Big Deuce is Here!

You can't help but smile about doing a race called the Big Deuce! This 2 mile swim will be in the balmy waters of Jordan Lake (86 degrees - yikes!), but don't worry as we have an intrepid volunteer who will be out there on a canoe giving racers gatorade if needed. After the swim I'll be on my bike with a bunch of other folks in the 100 degree heat and then later on we'll be at a pig roast. Definitely a full day planned!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marty took this video on the first day of our bike tour. We had just stopped for a coffee/cupcake break (guess which Gaal had which) and then got back on our bikes and immediately had to thread our way through a big pack of cruisers and recumbents. Then Marty missed the turn onto the canal but instead of us both having to thread our way through again, I just soft pedaled until he caught back up. Apparently, that's not how he saw it. I didn't even hear him coming.

Here's a quick day-by-day recap of our vacation - no pictures yet, but will post those soon!

Friday - July 9
We left Cary around noon - much later than planned but we had a bunch of stuff to take care of and also didn't want to kill ourselves trying to get out of town. About 30min into our drive Marty turns to me and says, "Do you have Beth's key?" Cue stomach drop. We were planning on stopping in Pittsburgh Friday night on our way to Buffalo and Beth & Oscar had so kindly agreed to let us stay at their house -- EVEN THOUGH THEY WOULDN'T EVEN BE THERE! We weren't that far away so turned around and went back home so I could retrieve their house key. Added an extra hour overall, but the drive up there is really quite beautiful so no worries. Until we got to downtown Pittsburgh where we were supposed to take some bridge that was closed - we didn't know this until we got right to the exit and then we had a nice little tour of downtown (insert heavy sarcasm) trying to figure out where the detour was. The GPS was of no help by this point and we both ended up just yelling at her a lot until we shut her off :) We did finally make our way onto the correct road, albeit very late and promptly fell immediately into the Shutt's guest room bed where we slept like logs.

Saturday - July 10
We ran along a river path that Beth had recommended Saturday morning and got in a good tempoish-long run before stuffing our faces at an Eat 'N Park. Then we hit the road again to drive to Buffalo. Here's where it got ugly - see we weren't doing the entire bike tour which would start in Buffalo and finish in Albany. They had a shuttle for people who needed to park their cars in Albany; but we were stopping early and needed to park our car in that town (Rome, NY). This meant that once we got to Buffalo (around 3 or 4), we would need to rent a car, and drove both cars to Rome (250 miles one way) drop our car there, and then drive the rental car back to Buffalo. We got back to Buffalo very late on Saturday night and stayed at a super skeevy hotel. It was at this point where I decided that Marty was never planning our vacations ever ever ever again. He redeemed himself, though in the coming days.

Sunday - July 11
This tour had something like 500 participants of all shapes and sizes and on all shapes and sizes of bicycles. Most were on hybrids, there were quite a few tandems, several recumbents, even recumbent tandems, and there were also quite a few road bikes out there. I was one of the few on a true mountain bike. We got to the starting point which was some small college where most had camped the night before, and ate the breakfast that was cooked for us. We had one last logistical issue where Marty had to drop the rental car back off and then ride his bike to the start, but everything was in a few miles of where we were staying so it worked out - we just ended up being the absolute last people to start. Today's ride was from Buffalo to Medina (which was a very small town). It was about half and half on paved trail and crushed gravel trail. This is where the fun started happening and I began to forgive Marty for all the travel we had to do to get up there.

Monday - July 12
Today's ride was from Medina to Pittsford, and mostly on the canal trail. It was 55 miles or so and about 45 miles into it we stopped at an outdoor LCM pool that was free to the cyclists. It was a beautiful day and although I felt pretty slothful in the water, the entire ride and swim were wonderful. Pittsford was a super cute town and we stayed in an awesome bed & breakfast right on the canal. Incidentally, Mary Eggers lives here, but unfortunately I wasn't able to meet her in person.

Tuesday - July 13
We rode 60+ miles from Pittsford to Senecca Falls - finishing on the road with some hills. Marty and I had a very nice lunch break in the tiny town of Lyons and then decided to hammer the last 25 miles in - we got moving on our big bikes! Senecca Falls was another nice town and Marty surprised me once again with a very plush hotel in their downtown area.

Wednesday - July 14
Senecca Falls to Syracuse today, with another outdoor LCM pool at the finish. Marty was a little more motivated than me in the water today but a little bit of splashing around counts, right? We stayed in downtown Syracuse this night and it was really quite nice! Too bad it snows 120 inches in the winter because the downtown was very fun. Every other place seemed to be an Irish bar and they had lots of shops and restaurants in the area (Armory Square). We stayed at ANOTHER swanky hotel and I couldn't get over the shower that had one of those giant rainfall shower heads hanging from the ceiling, as well as 3 other shower heads that came out of the wall.

Thursday - July 15
Syracuse to Rome. Rome is where MTV had their Woodstock in 1999, in case you were wondering. This is where we had parked our car and it was weird to finally have another form of transportation besides our bikes and a backpack (the company transported all of our luggage town to town, but since we stayed in hotels we had to get from the campsite to our hotel with whatever we needed - this meant we had to be a bit flexible and carry one backpack each with what we needed for the night and next morning before we headed out each morning).

Friday - July 16
We were originally going to ride a portion of the ride this morning and turnaround at some point, but decided against it as my glute had really started to bother me the last few days. Turns out, sitting on a mountain bike for lots of miles is quite a different position than my tri bike so it needed a rest. Instead we went to a local park for a run and then got into the car to drive to The Big Apple. It also started storming after our run so it turned out to be a good decision to skip the ride that day. We got into NYC without too many delays and stayed in another swanky hotel right next Central Park - it was even a suite! Yes, Marty had more than made up for the beginning of the week and has vacation planning privileges again :) We took a cab (very nice cabbie) to Battery Park, walked around the financial district, Fulton square, then took another cab (another nice, very talkative cabbie) to Times Square before getting some dinner and heading back to the hotel.

Saturday - July 17
We woke up and went for a run through Central Park - it was packed! With runners, cyclists, people preparing for the NYC tri the next day, rollerbladers, some dude that was on an outdoor moving elliptical, and other people on moon shoes. And that does not even factor in the 4 mile road race they were having at 9am that had a 10,000 people! We didn't do the race because we were meeting one of Marty's former clients for swim. After that we had a great breakfast then got back in the car to head down to South Jersey - 112 miles, several detours and 4 hours later (!!) we made it into Ocean City. Just in time to relax for a bit at our b&b before heading to the beach for a 1 mile open water race. The current was ripping and the 450 competitors all had very fast times. I came in at 21:26 and 2nd in my age group. After the race we hung out with some of Marty's old buddies where I got to hear about all their lifeguard stories for the two-hundredth time ;)

Sunday - July 18
We ran on the boardwalk in very hot and humid conditions, hung out at the beach, got some italian ice on the boardwalk and made it to a barbecue. Hung out some more later on with friends and then back to the b&b for our last night of vacation.

Monday - July 19
Although it's a long trip home, we enjoyed ourselves on the Cape May Ferry, and then made a quick stop at my sister's house in Virginia before finally getting home. Pictures to come!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Updates coming soon!

I haven't updated at all while on vacation, although Marty has and I did put a few pics up on facebook, but other than that I haven't had a ton of computer time. Plus, it's freakin' vacation and I don't want to really be on here that much! Vacation updates coming soon once we get home (tomorrow night, boo).

Here's a pic from the first day of our Erie Canal bike tour. It was a very, very good time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Gaal's

One of us smiles too much in races, and the other doesn't smile enough.

Yay! I'm on a new bike!

Grrr. I locked my aero helmet in the hotel.

Yay! I'm running!

Grrr. I'm hot.


Vacation - I need one! After the past few weeks of work I'm ready to get the heck out of dodge and enjoy some time off.

Reader's of this blog will understand, but I received a lot of strange looks when telling people what we were doing for vacation. Most people here head to one of the NC beaches for a week. Not us; we'll be doing a bike tour along the Erie Canal.

After Master's practice tomorrow morning we'll be driving to Pittsburgh, where we'll stay overnight and then continue driving to Buffalo, NY on Saturday. The bike tour is 8 days, but we're doing 6 and will be stopping a couple of towns early. So logistically it's a bit of a pain because we have to drive to that town, drop our car off, rent a car and drive back to Buffalo for the start on Sunday.

2/3 of the tour is on an off-road canal bike path, so we'll be riding the mountain bikes. Most people will be on hybrids or cross bikes, so we might be a bit slower, but maybe not. It's not a race, and we plan on enjoying our time each day on the bikes and in the towns we ride through.

Most people also camp, but we've opted to stay in hotels and B&B's.

When we finish, we'll head to NYC for the night. I haven't been there since I was 14, and although we won't be spending a whole lot of time, I'm looking forward to running through Central Park and walking around a bit.

Then, it wouldn't be a vacation without the Jersey Shore! We'll be heading down to Ocean City for the following weekend, and of course we're doing a race (just a swim race this time).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Too Busy to Blog

This past week was jam packed with way too much stuff. I had a decent week of training, a very, very busy week at work, and this weekend Marty and I have been boxing stuff up and deep cleaning our house. We've been wanting to sell and buy a slightly bigger house for awhile now, and we've finally started the process. And what a process it is.

Marty did a July 4th (actually July 3rd) run, and I went from planning on racing it on Tuesday, to not racing but watching on Thursday, to not even going on Friday night. Marty didn't mind that I wasn't going to get up early with him and instead I got to catch up on some sleep and I had a really nice run through Bond Park at 9am. We had great weather this past weekend and I finally felt like a runner out there.

I have today off, but that doesn't mean I get to not work - like I said above work has been really busy and it definitely won't stop just because we get a holiday. So I'm procrastinating firing up the work laptop and getting some things done by writing this blog.

Other things I have to look forward to: Eclipse! I'm finally going to see it this afternoon. My good friend who is also obsessed was out of town and she begged me to wait until she got back to go see it with her. Of course, I said yes - and I've patiently been biding my time while I hear everyone else talk about how they loved it and how yummy Edward is.

Vacation! Coming soon (actually, this Friday). Were heading up to New York for a week long bike tour along the Erie Canal. I. Can't. Wait.