Monday, August 30, 2010

Nuclear Swim Recap

Our final open water swim in the Trysports Triangle Swim Series was held yesterday morning at Harris Lake. This 1 mile swim (named the Nuclear Swim since the Shearon Harris Nuclear power plant uses the lake to cool it's reactors) is a popular one and we usually get our biggest turnout.

Everything went very smoothly - we had enough t-shirts for any late signups, all food was there and delivered early, and the weeds were at a minimum this year. Because of the amount of swimmers we had, it was decided to once again split the men and women up. The men would go 10 min ahead of the women.

Some of you all may remember the Showdown I had with fellow master swim, Erik, at the Big Deuce. It was time for my rematch...bummer that we were in different waves! At the Jordan Lake swim, this is how we finished (different waves, here, too).

And at the Big Deuce (someone snuck in between us)

I coerced my friends Kari, Alysia and Karen to help me with packet pick-up and they were nice enough to fall for my manipulations and got to the race site early. We got in the water and sunk into whatever sludge is on the bottom of that lake with lots of squeals after the men had started. This is a nice wide start so there's not a whole lot of banging around and I situated myself right next to Alysia. After about 100 yards she was inching up so I decided to fall in behind her and let her sight and do all the work. It was perfect! I limited the amount of foot tapping I did and let her drag me around for 3/4 mile before I decided to kick it into high gear and sprint on home. Poor Alysia -- some friend I am! The entire time I was thinking, "MUST BEAT ERIK!!"

Getting out of the water was a bit slow with that sludge again, but I ran out and was extremely tired. Turns out it's pretty hard to sprint for a 1/4 mile.

The women's finish was a good one! With a $100 on the line it was a sprint to the end and only 1 second separated first and second. Marty got it on video and posted it to Facebook (check out the Triangle Open Water Swim Series page to view). I would post the video on here, but I have no idea how to get it off of facebook. I never claimed to be very smart.

Once out of the water, I apologized to Alysia for using her for most of the swim. She didn't care at all; love her :) Then I saw Wayne from Master's and asked him what his time was. He responded with, "I'm not telling YOU." Hmmm, my competive reputation has preceded me. He did tell me and I did a few fist pumps when I realized I had beaten him.

But the real question -- what was Erik's time?! I couldn't find him and when I finally did, he didn't know! They had the results up quick and we both rushed over to look. After a quick look, I yelled, "DANGIT ERIK!!!"

4 seconds! Again! And once again we weren't even in the same wave. So over the course of these 4 miles (and 2 miles not even swimming together) we were separated by 7 seconds. I'd say we're pretty evenly matched in the open water. Hopefully, he doesn't learn to sight (an issue for him right now, apparently).

Since I handed out the awards I gave him a massive eye roll when he got his. Nothing but love for my fellow OSB Master's swimmers ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tips from Tassie

I wrote this for our latest OSB Multisport newsletter. If you'd like to subscribe to it (it's sent out monthly), click this link.

There are so many traits that my dog has that I wish I could instill into my life. For example, she is ALWAYS happy in the morning, no matter what the time. It’s as if she’s thinking, “A brand new day! Yay!” She gets incredibly excited when we take her for a run, and is very sad when we don’t. I don’t necessarily want to be spinning in circles (ala Tassie) at the beginning of every run, but I do wish I could be that eager for most of them – I am doing something I love, after all.

Another trait Tassie has is she absolutely won’t quit. She has been trying to catch a squirrel ever since we brought her home almost 4 years ago, and has continually failed, but that doesn’t stop her. If she spies one in the backyard she lets you know that she has to get outside RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately, although she is very fast, she makes way too much noise and then doesn’t always actually run to the squirrel's location. In other words, her chances of catching a squirrel are about as good as Marty being able to donate his hair to charity.

But she doesn’t care; every failure is immediately erased from her mind and the next opportunity is always just around the corner. This is really a remarkable lesson that we can use in so many different aspects of our life, but since this is a triathlon newletter I figured I’d relate it to the sport. How many times do we dwell on a bad workout or race? You can always learn from everything, but beating yourself up over it is not productive. You had a bad run? Well, guess what – there’s another run on your schedule two days from now! Make that one count and forget about this one. Or how about in a race? Perhaps you had a crummy swim – don’t think about your crummy swim the entire bike ride – it’s over. It’s done. Get on the bike and only think about the bike.

Maybe you haven’t had the season you’ve been hoping for? It’s not over yet. You still probably have a few races left –these are your opportunities to get after it. Don’t give up on the squirrel. You may just catch it someday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trying to Be Good

I have two triathlons left on the calendar - the Patriots Sprint in Williamsburg, VA on September 12th (Marty is doing the half the day before), and USAT Nationals in Tuscaloosa on September 25th. The sprint will be kind of a last tune-up before Nationals, which is definitely the 'A' race of the season.

In an effort to set myself up well for that race, I'm trying to be good. As in, I'm not sleeping in and missing Master's practice, being more consistent with my runs so I can get above 20 mpw and biking more.

I've actually biked 3 times already this week! That's amazing seeing as it's only Friday. So what if one was on the trainer watching the latest True Blood episode...I did get out on the rode twice (one of those was cut short because of a horrible thunderstorm. nothing like a quick bargaining conversation with the higher power as lightening is popping all around you). And I did wake up for all 3 Master's practices this week (internal high five).

I've also been going to bed very early - which is why I was able to get up at 5:15 4 mornings this week. Marty loves it when at 8:30pm I say, "Ok, I'm going to go get ready for bed." and then I'm out by 9pm. Party central.

This has been a pretty typical day - 5:15am: wake up - workout - work - workout - home - dinner - unpack - pack for next day - bed. I've just started reading The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo so I get a couple of pages in before I shut the light I know everyone says it's really good but I'm honestly having trouble getting into it. I'm going to stick it out and hope it gets better.

I'm hoping to 'be good' until Nationals. We'll see if I can make it. Okay, enough training talk.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Murder was the case that they gave me

Victim was found in hallway of house gutted. All appendages broken.

Heart (aka 'squeaker') torn out.

Suspect was still at the scene of the crime. Refused to look at investigators.

Claims 'accident.' Explains, 'always carries friends in mouth.' Friends named as 'bunny,' 'turkey,' and 'hedgehog.' None were available for comment.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Sad Face

This is what I felt like yesterday when I realized I had left my prescription sunglasses on top of my car the day before.

I drove back to Umstead (where it happened) thinking that in some alternate universe I would find them intact and lying on the curb somewhere. That alternate universe was not my reality and I saw no trace of them. I imagine they're somewhere squashed along Harrison Avenue.

This post deserves another picture.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I am totally watching Survivor this season

I'm not a big reality tv fan - I did watch The Real World in college and the first season of Survivor (10 years ago?), but other than that I could care less.

Except we know someone on the new season of Survivor! Kelly Bruno is a local triathlete/amputee/med student and all-around nice girl. Maybe too nice for this show, but I guess we'll see.

Go Kelly :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lake Logan Race Report

Race: Lake Logan International
Venue: Beautiful Canton, NC (a bit west of Asheville, a bit east of Waynesville)
Partners in Crime: Kari, Alysia, myself
Sub Partners in Crime: Marty and Tassie
Accommodations: Cabin up a steep hill – may or may not have had a squirrel living in the loft. Surrounded by 15,000 crickets.

Marty picked me up from work and we raced over to packet pickup with 10min to spare. We met up with Kari and Alysia at the cabin and got all of our race gear ready while deciding on what time to get up the next morning. Marty doesn’t like to get there too early; I am the opposite. This can cause problems, but this time around I had my girls on my side wanting to leave early. 4:15 wake up and out the door no later than 5:00 am. Mission accomplished. I kept everyone up to date on my bowel movements. They were thrilled.

Get to the race site and do the usual morning set up. Off for a short jog and when I come back this guy had his entire house spread out in front of his and my bike.

Besides all the ugliness on his bike/helmet/aero bottle, he was also wearing UF crocs. I deadpanned, “so, you a Gator fan?” His response, “yeah, kind of obnoxious isn’t it?” My reply, “yup, you guys usually are.” He then said for me not to worry, he would have all his stuff put away. Plus, his bike would be gone by the time I came into transition and I would have plenty of room. I figured he was right since he was starting 4min ahead of me…but guess who’s bike was still sitting there when I came into T1? Later Gator ;)

I warmed up in the warm but wetsuit legal mountain lake with Marty, tried to get a little conversation out of a girl (eventual winner) who looked super fast. She didn’t bite and was looking very serious. I was in the first women’s wave (wave 4, women 34 & under – the second women’s wave was 2 waves/8min later) I got Alysia over next to me at the line and told her I wanted to draft off of her feet but dangit if I cannot stick with her in the beginning! I tried but was quickly in Z5a and had to back off. I got into a good rhythm and saw a purple cap about 20 yards up and knew it was her. We stayed that distance away from each other the entire swim. I passed her running into T1 and knew there were a couple of girls who also shot off like cannons at the start so figured I was somewhere in the top 5.

Bike: This was a first, I got yelled at! Okay, so since there were 2 waves of men ahead, there were lots of guys out on the road. Not many seem to understand the concept of drafting/blocking/dropping back/staying to the right. I was going back and forth with a couple of guys for most of the ride and this one guy who was on a road bike was just blatantly sitting on everyone’s wheel. Every time someone passed him he was right on them – I assumed he was a roadie and maybe didn’t know the rules, but that’s not an excuse. I was very careful whenever this group passed me to soft pedal and drop back – even to the point of sitting up. I have had one penalty and it was for that – not getting out of the draft zone quick enough so I am very conscious of this. But after dropping back I would get aero again and slowly catch back up to them, pass them, and then they would pass me back. Rinse and repeat. So after like the 5th time I passed the group and mr. roadie got right back on my wheel, I yelled, “Dude! You can’t draft!” He yelled back, “SHUT UP!” I was shocked and responded with the eloquent, “Shut up?!?!” (you talking to me?!) He yelled back, “Yeah, shut up!!” Later on in the ride he must’ve realized he was being an asshole and started to be nicer finishing with cheering me on as I ran out of transition. Anyways, other than that, I felt really good on the bike.

Run: The temps were nice – in the 80’s which is a huge difference from the 100 degrees we’ve been training in. Plus, this run is shaded. Uphill on the way out, downhill on the way back with a shooting range right next to the road (but hidden in the trees) just to make sure you’re awake. My goal was to stay controlled going up and drop the hammer coming back. I felt good the first mile but was disappointed when I saw my split (6:55), I didn’t really factor in the hill we just ran up and assumed the reason why I was feeling good was because I was going too slow. I dropped the 2nd mile down to a 6:40 but still wasn’t that happy so picked it up some more. Luckily, my legs were responding well and I felt great! I saw the first place girl coming back down (and now knew for sure I was 2nd in my wave), yelled a ‘good job!’ but didn’t get any acknowledgement. Like I said, very serious. She was killing it and ended up 4th OVERALL – and that includes 2 guys who are pro’s! Anyways, I hit the turnaround and still felt good so really tried to run hard back down. I saw Alicia Parr and Gail Kattouf who need no introduction – they are super freaking fast (they started 8 min behind me). Also yelled to Alysia, Kari and Cari and lots of others on the road. I finished up and felt really relaxed and good all the way to the finish line. I was stoked to dip under that 40:00 mark for the 10K.

Bonehead race call: This race has a tiny bit of prize money - $100 for the overall winners, $100 for the master’s overall winners, $100 for the fastest split (swim, bike and run). I ended up 4th overall behind some serious fast ladies, and only 3 seconds behind Alicia, so really, I call it a win for me ;) They give out the top 3 overall and Alicia is called up as 3rd, which she is, but I think we assumed she would be pulled out for master’s overall (she turns 40 this year). Then we assumed that they were just going to give her both because really, she is that fast and if you’re 3rd, give her that award and the master’s award. But nope, they gave the master’s award (and the $100) to the 2nd place master’s girl who was 14 min behind Alicia! Alicia asked the RD and he said, “Nope. Third is third.” Uhhhhh, what?! So if she had gone slower (and in this instance, 3 seconds was all it took – I should’ve sprinted at the end!) she would’ve won $100!

Saturday night: Our clan stayed overnight and went into Asheville for dinner and cupcakes. We did have to wait forever to get a table and shot red hot death glares at a family who would not leave but they were quickly forgotten as we tucked into our meal.

Sunday: Planned on a 2hr ‘easy spin’ but we’re in the mountains so spinning the whole time isn’t all that possible. Marty and I are familiar with Maggie Valley so we picked the least hilly route, which still had some nice climbs. At least it was pretty. Nice ride despite the hills and we stopped for lunch in Asheville on the way back home.

Future plans: staying put for the next few weekends – yeah!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Last night we had a doozie of a thunderstorm come through. It woke us all up, and of course if I wake up in the middle of the night, I immediately have to go to the bathroom. Tassie, like many other dogs, doesn't like thunderstorms. However, unlike most other dogs, she doesn't try to hide or destroy things or even whine. She just sits and trembles. It really is the saddest thing you'll ever see. When I went to the bathroom last night she followed me so she could sit on my feet, lean up against my legs, and resume trembling.

Tassie says, "Aww, man! I blinked!"

We had another storm come through this evening so I got see her trembling in action. I really don't know what I'm supposed to do for this. Must google. Anyways, just as I was sitting down to eat some pasta, Marty called to have me come pick him up as he was stuck at a gas station not wanting to ride home in the deluge and cracks of lightening all around. And like the good wifey that I am, I went and got him. And felt bad for all the cyclists I saw on the roads heading back to either Inside Out or Cycling Spoken Here. It was truly dangerous out there. I took Tassie with me because I didn't want to leave her home alone all trembly, so she shook in the car with me instead.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beach Weekend Recap

Thanks to Kari and Bobby for letting us all come down to their family's beach house this weekend - we had lots of fun and got in lots of good training. All pictures have been taken from Kari, who is our resident photographer for trips.

We started Friday night off with pizza. Alysia and Kari slaved all day to make us a delicious meal.

Saturday morning we got up early so we could get a bike ride in before the beach traffic picked up.

It's amazing how fast 50 miles can go when you're on flat roads doing a constant paceline with great athletes.

We were thinking of having Cervelo sponsoring us?

There's always one who has to be different.

After floating in the canal, a big lunch, and several hours playing at the beach, we let the boys grill for us.

Burgers, corn on the cob and beer - doesn't get much better than that on a Saturday night at the beach!

There was a heated game of 'Scene It!' in which the girls won (of course, right?!) This is a board/dvd game where questions are asked about movies. Sometimes it's just a question, sometimes you have to watch a clip of a movie, sometimes there are pictures that you have to put together to guess a movie's name. For example, name the movie using the following two pictures:

Marty: "Bacon Stick!" (incorrect)

Jimmy: "Egg Cop!" (incorrect)


There was also poker.

And two dorks who became obsessed with a puzzle.

After a long run on Sunday, we went to the beach for some open water swimming. This pictured doesn't do the ocean justice; it was actually quite choppy and had a pretty strong current. I mostly paddled on the board but did get a little swimming in.

Need to teach Tassie to look at the camera.