Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Message in a Bloggle

My good friend Kari wrote a much funnier blog post about our USAT Nationals weekend, complete with silly antics and inside jokes that most won't get. It's much better than my 'poo my race sucked poo' post.

Originally, I was going to be done with the season after the race this past weekend. Marty's high school cross country team is running in the Great American cross country festival which is a big, competitive cross country meet right here in our town. They have a 'community race' to start the day, which is a nice way to let all of us old folks run in a cross country meet. I figured I would do that - how fun would it be to do a real cross country meet?

But instead, I decided that I don't want to end my season with my race last weekend and have decided to do the Jordan Lake Women's Only triathlon on Sunday. I had a free entry into it and it will be low key, nice weather and it's local --- and it's a sprint!

I've still kind of started my off season though, so we'll see how the race goes on close to no training. I think it will be fine. And fun :)

I leave you with a close-up of a pretty fluffy Tassie and one of her favorite toys, Hedgehog.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

USAT Nationals Race Report

Unfortunately, this is not the race report I had hoped to write! The day just didn't go well. I felt a bit crappy the week heading into the race, but it's the taper and you don't always feel very good. Warming up I felt tight and ugh, but again, I didn't think about it too much because that doesn't indicate how the race is going to go.

The swim felt fine - I totally couldn't hang with the front group and swam by myself the entire time. I felt like I was going hard but not too hard, but my time ended up being pretty bad compared to where I should've been. But running out of the water into transition I was so winded!

The first lap of the bike was horrible. So horrible in fact, I contemplated stopping many times, which is so not like me when I'm racing. My legs just weren't there. Of course, I'm glad I didn't stop and am proud that I got my head out of my ass and my legs warmed up for the second lap. I ended up going 1:05:40 on a legit 40K which isn't terrible, particularly since my legs didn't show up until half way. Fitness-wise I would've expected to be a minute or maybe a little more faster.

The run was hot. And a bit hilly in sections. My plan was to stay controlled the first 5K and then lay it all out there. Even though my bike wasn't all that good, I still go into every run thinking I can do it fast. I caught a few girls in my age group within the first mile and was feeling pretty good. Even after the steep hill I was okay, but shortly after while doing all those zig-zags through the streets I started hurting more than normal. It seemed like every girl I would see in the distance and then work to catch was in the 25-29 age group - where are all the girls in my age group? (huh, they were way ahead!) I did end up catching one girl really close to the finish line (never, never quit - even when it seems hopeless ;) My run split was nothing to write home about, but after looking at the splits of everyone it wasn't all that bad - and again I really feel like I could've maybe been 2 min faster on a normal day for me.

So overall - I was a little 'off' on all 3. But at a race like this a little off is a big deal. I think I ended up 8th in my age group (another listing at the awards said 7th, so not real sure what happened), and 24th female overall in 2:16:04.

I am definitely disappointed with myself and my performance. It's a tough pill to swallow. I trained hard and really tried to do everything possible to put myself in a good position to do well there. It just wasn't in the cards.

The race itself was pretty good - a challenging course and pretty good shwag to all participants. Tuscaloosa is definitely not a city I would ever choose to go back to and that's not just because I went to Auburn (War Damn Eagle). For a small town it has horrible traffic and it's just one ugly chain/strip mall after another.

The awards ceremony was nice although unless you were a big winner you didn't get anything except a little plaque. And seriously - water, hot protein gatorade and burritos is not the best post race food. Can I get a coke, please?

The best part of the weekend was traveling with my friends and hanging out with Marty and Tassie. I love my girls and had such a great time with them - they make it all worth it. This is getting long and I'm tired so maybe my next post will be about speeding down the highway, running through the airport and the sacrificial cupcake.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let the Taper Begin!

My A race is a coming. USAT Nationals is this next Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I realized an interesting thing the other day - my very first collegiate cross country race was in Tuscaloosa (University of Alabama's home meet; I was running for Auburn), and my very last collegiate cross country race was also in Tuscaloosa (Regionals my senior year, running for UCF).

This morning, after not setting any alarms and sleeping until our hearts were content, Marty and I did a short brick in gorgeous weather. It is still abnormally hot here for this time of year, but the humidity has FINALLY let up a bit and it sure does make a difference. Anyways, the brick went well, but I could tell that something was wrong with the cleat on my right shoe. Sure enough, when I got home and took my shoes off I found the problem.

"Yup, all my screws are loose," I said to Marty. Uhhhh, durrrrrrrr!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


We have Sirius satellite in the car I usually drive and I mostly listen to Alt Nation on there. This puts me slightly ahead of the curve for new alternative music, but not so much that I'm all indie hipster or anything. Just enough to when they finally play a song on the real radio I can say, "Psshhh, that song is SOOO old." And then I feel cool.

Marty doesn't like anything that was made after 1994, so he thinks all my music is crap the first time he hears me play it. Then 4 months later he'll say, "Oh, I like this song." Then I remind him he heard it 4 months ago and you said it was noise and why can't every song sound like Pearl Jam or Pink Floyd.

By the way, I heard that Pearl Jam is celebrating their 20th anniversary of being a band. Sigh.

Anyways, I wish there was a song with my name. Fleetwood Mac's Rhiannon is the closest I think I'll ever get, and that's not all that close. But when I was younger I used to pretend they were singing "Briiiiiiiiii-aaaaannnnnnnnne" (note: NOT Brianna)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Patriots Half and Sprint Weekend

Marty, Tassie and I left straight from Marty’s high school cross country practice on Friday evening. We were going to save a little money and stay at my sister’s house on Friday night in Chesapeake, VA. She lives about an hour away from the race site in Williamsburg, and 4 am was an early wake up call for us on Saturday morning. No trouble getting to the Jamestown Settlement where the races started and finished – temps were cool!

Marty started in the 4th wave but had such an awesome swim that he was in the top 10 getting out of the water. There was a good current parallel to shore, but when turning back to the finish most people got swept real wide and added a ton of time to their swim times. It was also quite shallow and a lot of racers chose to slowly walk out of the water instead of continuing to swim or dolphin dive. Marty-I-Am-An-Awesome-Open-Water-Swimmer took a great line and dolphin dove his way to a very fast split considering the conditions. Erin, one of his athletes and our good friend, was also racing and killed all the women in the swim. Marty was lucky to outsplit her!

Dan, Michelle and I set up camp while everyone was out on the bike. It really is tiring spectating, which I know sounds ridiculous but I’ve spectated enough of these long events and can honestly say how draining it can be. We cheered for all the racers coming off the bike – Marty came off 4th but I think at this point he was really leading the race since he started 9min behind the first wave. The run was two loops so we got to see everyone a lot. Erin ended up 2nd overall and broke 5 hours in her first half – that girl is dripping with talent and works hard – in her first year of triathlon she is already a force to be reckoned with! Marty finished up 6th overall and had a really solid race.

I was exhausted when we finally got to our hotel that afternoon. Since the sprint was starting at 7am we decided to stay in Williamsburg that night so we didn’t have to drive back and forth to my sister’s and get up sooooo early again. This was a good idea since a group of us had a fun time at dinner that night. We ended up at Hooter’s…don’t ask.

We got up the next morning to rain and 60 degree weather. We were running just a bit behind schedule so Marty stayed at the car to get my bike ready so I could head to packet pickup and get all my stuff. It’s really annoying to just be standing in lines when it’s raining, not to mention setting all your stuff up when you know everything is just going to get soaked. I was starting to get a little anxious because even after all the lines, Marty still wasn’t there with my bike and we hadn’t parked that far away. He finally showed up with his disc for my back wheel. We had been having trouble with my disc – specifically, my cassette would just fall right off of it. Marty thought that actually on the bike it would be fine but it wasn’t working. Apparently, while putting his disc on my bike, my cassette must have fallen off the bad disc into the deep grass of the parking area. We didn’t realize this until we got home and were unloading the car. If anyone finds an almost brand new cassette at the Jamestown Settlement, please contact me ;)

I felt rushed and poor Marty got the brunt of my anxiety when I was trying to get my wetsuit on and our bottle of Pam was clogged. Sorry, honey. The first wave was men 34 & under and I was the second wave of women 34 & under. I mistakenly tried to dolphin dive at the start and it was too deep so I kind of mucked that up, but managed to get on some fast feet for a little while. The swim for my wave was uneventful, unlike for the some of the later waves who dealt with a moving buoy, and the last waves who didn’t even have to go around the first turn buoy because after moving it was eventually just taken from the water. I tried to be like Marty and took a good line into the finish and got some good dolphin diving at a more appropriate water level on the way in. I think I was 4th or 5th out of the water. The run to transition was long and I had some trouble getting my wetsuit off (remember the no Pam incident?) but I managed to get on the bike in 2nd place.

I moved into 1st place quickly and then just concentrated on passing as many guys as possible. The roads were wet so I was careful but felt like I pushed pretty hard out there.

T2 was all right, a little slower than normal because it turns out putting soaking wet socks on is harder than dry socks. Yes, I wear socks even in a sprint. I have sensitive feet. I felt good heading off on the run and again, just tried to pass as many guys as possible.

All in all, it was a good race. A nice final tune-up for USAT Nationals in two weeks. Here's a link to the results.

Erin and her mom came out to cheer for us in the rain when they could’ve been sleeping off their half in the nice hotel. Tom and Marty were also great cheerleaders for us – great job to Dan on his 2nd place finish. This race gives wine and wine glasses for awards – nice!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

These yummy little cupcakes are the death of me. I ate 6 of them over the course of 4 days. 6!! I am thankful that we don’t have Publix’s in NC or I would really be in trouble. My sister bought some for me and I shoveled one down my piehole right when I got to her house (Tassie was going to be partying with her and Carter in Jacksonville). Then once we got to New Smyrna Beach 2 hours later, I enjoyed another with my almost 3 year old niece. Couldn’t have her eating alone, now could I?

It was a long drive to Florida. We didn’t make it out of town until 6:30 on Thursday evening, and stopped in Hardeeville, SC 5 hours later. It was dark which was good since there isn’t anything to see in Hardeeville except for fast food chains, hotels and gas stations. Another 4 hours the next day with the dog drop off in Jacksonville and we were finally at the beach house! I went for a run and it was HOT. Figures NC had fantastic weather this weekend. I got in good heat training instead.

Marty and I went for a flat, hot, ugly bike ride Saturday morning. I so appreciate living in our beautiful state, but never more so then when I ride my bike in FL. I felt good. Marty took a spill and now has some cool road rash on the right side of his body. Luckily, that’s all he got and nothing was broken or hurt (bike or Marty). However, I did not like watching him lose control and go down. I was the one who cried.

We got in some beach time, family time, and a little more training time. It was a good weekend. The drive was long coming back yesterday, and Shana refilled the cupcakes for me and since I apparently have no self control, I ate 2 more yesterday. There is still 1 left. I think I’ll have that when I get home today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bulls and Beach

We're never bored here at Gaal Central. Tonight we're headed to the Durham Bulls game with a bunch of friends. Yesterday was an interval run in the morning, followed by work, followed by the Inside Out Sports bike ride (hung onto the front group - go me!). Swimming this morning, back at work and straight to the game tonight.

Tomorrow evening we're driving down to Florida for our annual 'it's Marty's dad's birthday weekend so we're getting the whole family together.' Last year we went to Hollywood, FL, the year before we were in St. Pete. This year we're going to New Smyrna Beach (with a stop in Jacksonville Thursday night).

I told Marty the other week that there was no way I was swimming in the ocean there. New Smyrna (in Volusia county) is well known for it's many shark bites (I don't want to say 'attacks' because they aren't really). It also has a great surfing break. Nonetheless, this girl doesn't want to take that chance. Here's a little excerpt from wikipedia:

According to the International Shark Attack File maintained by the University of Florida, Volusia County Florida had more confirmed shark bites than any other region in the world in 2007. Experts from the University of Florida have referred to the county as having the "dubious distinction as the world’s shark bite capital". This trend has continued into 2008 with 19 confirmed shark attacks as of September. In early 2008, Forbes Magazine rated New Smyrna Beach North America's top shark attack beach over North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. In 2008, it again broke its own record with 24 shark bites.

So yeah, if it were me and Marty in the water, guess who the weak link is? No thank you.

Now there are some hurricanes out in the Atlantic so it would be rough anyways. I think we'll just find a pool.