Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Research Triangle Pork

Usually my commute is a breeze, but today it was a rainy and the interstate was all backed up and slow. I didn't see an accident but did see a couple of cop cars on the side with flashing lights, so assumed it was leftover from something else and everyone has to slow down and gawk (really, people, it's just a car with lights). I found out it wasn't your typical accident -

"Morrisville, N.C. — Five pigs fell out of a truck and got loose on Interstate 40, causing traffic congestion during the Wednesday morning commute, Durham police said.

Multiple WRAL viewers reported seeing the pigs running around I-540, near the juncture with Interstate 540.

Police said the pigs, which are about 60 pounds each, likely fell off the back of a truck, but the driver likely didn't realize it and kept going.

Police rounded up the pigs and kept them in their squad cars until animal control officers arrived. Two of the pigs' legs were hurt."

Oh, the joke's that are coming out of this story. Pigs in squad cars? Eastern NC style or Western NC style? Poor little piggies! (I work in an area called Research Triangle Park if the title didn't make sense)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Exciting Times

Tassie from a couple of days ago. She had gotten out of control fluffy and was bringing in the backyard all over the house. She constantly had stuff stuck to her (you can see a few bits in the picture) because she loves laying out there. I think she does look pretty cute all fluffy, although I'm sure it must be hella annoying to have all that fur on your nose.

Yesterday we got her shaved. Wimpiest mohawk ever, but I will dye it pink this weekend and maybe it will look better. I always feel like she is slightly embarrassed with her shorn self. She does look ridiculously skinny and poodle-like. She also doesn't look very thrilled that I'm taking her picture. What a stink eye.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Marathon Watching

Sunday morning I cheered Marty and many others on at the Tobacco Road Half and Full Marathon. They really lucked out with the weather. All week the forecasters kept on saying that Sunday would be cool with the highs for the day only reaching the 60’s. I never believed them, particularly when Saturday was 80 degrees and sunny (beautiful day for a brick, I might add!) But sure enough, Sunday was gray and cool; perfect for the racers.

I don’t think I’ve ever just watched a marathon before, but I have lots of long distance spectating under my belt (8 IM’s – 5 of Marty’s and 3 others that we just went to watch and cheer) so I know the things I need to bring to keep myself occupied and fed.

I drove Marty, Sam and her husband to the ballpark where the races started and finished. No troubles parking, although we hear that was an issue for others. I decided to bring my mountain bike so I could ride over to one of the trail crossings that was also fairly close to another part of the course so I could see everyone multiple times. It was only about a 2 mile ride to the spot and well worth it instead of just watching the start and finish. But oh man was it COLD getting over there. I was wearing jeans and a fleece with a hoodie, but definitely was not dressed for cold weather riding. I warmed up while standing on the trail waiting for the half marathoners and got to cheer for tons of friends while out there. Then I zipped over to my other spot to watch the leaders of the half make the turn for the final 1.5 miles before racing back to the trail to see the marathoners. After seeing Marty (looking very relaxed) I went back AGAIN to the late turn where I was now super chilled but luckily had Jennifer with me to complain and hop around with. Watched a bunch of marathoners come through, some looking strong and others dying that slow death before seeing Marty who was just trucking on by people. He negative split the marathon – who does that?! I got back on my bike and made it to the finish a few minutes before he got there.

I know I didn’t run a half marathon or marathon but man was I exhausted that afternoon! I was pretty much a slug on the couch watching basketball for the rest of the day.

Speaking of basketball – my bracket is completely hosed. I swear I was on the losing end of almost every close game, and I think I lost every game Sunday night. Like I said in my last post, I had Notre Dame going to the finals but then they went and lost to FSU. I usually cheer for FSU but not against Notre Dame. This is what my facebook profile picture looked like Sunday –

That's me and my sister waiting for the subway in NYC to go to the Notre Dame v Army game last fall.

And then quickly on Monday I changed it to this –

Tomahock Chopping at the FSU tailgate when they played at NC State.

So now that my bracket is so bad, I’ve moved onto just cheering for the teams I want to win rather than those I’ve picked. So go BYU and FSU!

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Madness

Oh, how I love this time of year - March Madness! It's very hard to stay focused at work when all sorts of games are going on. Luckily, this area has huge fans and it's sort of expected that people might be sneaking games on their computers or camping out in the cafeteria to watch the tv's in there.

We have an office pool going within the Finance organization. My brackets are long shots due to the fact that I have to go with my heart over stats on a lot of these games. Case in point:

  • I'm in love with Jimmer Fredette. My all time favorite basketball player is Pistol Pete (not Shotgun Sally - which was Marty's answer to that question...he's such a basketball fan), and Jimmer is quite the new era Pete Maravich. So I probably have BYU going much further than they will.
  • I hate Florida (sorry DS!!). Readers of this blog already know this, and I probably have them going out too early.
  • Notre Dame is in my blood -- and I have them going to the Finals with Ohio State.

So we'll see what happens! One of my brackets got hammered last night and I'm not doing all that well overall so far against my co-workers. Let's hope they all get Jimmered :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Copy Cat

Okay, I'm just copying what I've seen on other people's blogs recently which is not very original but these things can be fun, too. Anyways, two posts in one week from me is like a minor miracle recently, so, you're welcome ;)

A: Age – 31

B: Bed – Queen

C: Chore you dislike – ummm, every chore? But probably cleaning the bathroom (shower, toilet, floor…yuck)

D: Dogs – Tassie, pronounced Tazzy – we spelled it the Australian way because she is named after Tasmania, which the locals call Tassie (fantastic place to visit, FYI). Now thinking back, I wish we had just spelled it Tazzy because most people assume it’s like Lassie with a T. Sorry for the confusion :)

E: Essential start to your day – toilet

F: Favorite color – I don’t have a strong opinion on this, I like red and blue and green…but I seem to own too much black.

G: Gold or Silver – of the two, probably silver

H: Height – 5’8”

I: Instruments - forced to take piano lessons when I was 8 but I never practiced and got reprimanded pretty much every session. I hated it.

J: Job Title – Financial Analyst & Coach

K: Kids – not yet

L: Live – Cary, NC (also known as the Containment Area for Relocated Yankees, whatever, haters, this is a damn fine town)

M: Mom’s name – Nancy

N: Nicknames – Annie by parents (I love this nickname), Bri by all ya’ll. Full name is Brianne but whatever you call me, don’t let it be Briann-a!

O: Overnight hospital stays – none, I’m lucky I guess

P: Pet Peeves – people who have to ‘top’ every story (aka: ‘toppers')

Q: Quote from a movie – Fight the sadness, Artex! (Neverending Story anybody?)

R: Righty or Lefty – Righty

S: Siblings – Two older sisters, Heather & Shana

T: Time you wake up – depends on the day, but typically between 5:15 and 6:45. Can’t seem to sleep past 7 EVER anymore :(

U: Underwear – uhhh, yeah. People think this is optional?

V: Vegetable you don’t like – cauliflower. Most other vegetables you can load with butter or cheese and be fine. Cauliflower is THE WORST.

W: What makes you run late – Marty. I’m not a late person, really. I’m a chronically early person and get anxious if I’m late.

X: X-rays you’ve had – teeth (of course), foot and I think shins at some point. Nothing major.

Y: Yummy food you make – not much of a cook. I like to bake but Marty doesn’t like dessert so I don’t bake much since that would mean I would eat it all. I think I make pretty good homemade chocolate chip cookies but it probably has more to do with the fact that there’s tons of butter flavored Crisco in the recipe

Z: Zoo animal favorite – Zoo’s sort of make me sad, but I guess I always liked the gorilla exhibit at Busch Gardens in Tampa

Monday, March 7, 2011

Diving off the blocks

I'm planning on doing the North Carolina Master's State Championship meet in early April. No need to qualify for this or anything, you just simply sign up. We have several swimmers from our team who are going to do it, and I thought it would be fun...and scary since this is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone.

First things first, I need to learn how to dive off the blocks.

I've gone off the blocks several different times at the pool we swim at with little success. I either:

a) lose my goggles
b) belly flop
c) go way too deep

So although I want to look like this:

I inevitably look more like this:

I've been putting off practicing because...because...frankly because I'm not good at it and who likes trying skillful things as an adult that you're not good at in front of lots of other people.

Time to check my ego at the door. Plus, it's getting awful close to the beginning of April and I'm not going into that meet unprepared.

Alysia and Kari showed up at Master's this morning (a miracle in itself) and at the end Alysia practiced her starts while Kari stayed in the water and laughed at me. I started by diving off the edge of the pool, and belly flopped (more like thigh slapped) my way through a couple of starts. Marty got a noodle to help me jump up and out, but then I was going too deep.

Erik helpfully rolled his eyes and said it would be easier if I just went off the blocks. I ignored my silly fears and did it. Several thigh slaps later, a couple of too deep entries and maybe one that went semi-correctly, I had to call it so I could hit the showers and get ready for work.

My thighs and hips looked like I had gotten a wicked sunburn.


My goggles stayed on the entire time. Total win!

Then in the locker room, Becky gave me a tip about how I was throwing my arms that I'm eager to try out next time. Oh yes, there will definitely be a next time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Camp Fun

Oh man, I had a blast at tri camp and am trying to keep my head above water now as I'm back at home and in real life. No more just thinking about swim, bike and running in the Florida heat.

So to start - I left Monday night and flew to Tampa. Delayed flight had me getting in late, but all the early arrivals to the beach house were up and greeted me. There were 6 of us down there for the early part of the camp which officially started Tuesday morning. Great group. So many laughs.

Wednesday night saw the arrival of everyone else - the shorter version of the camp started Thursday. We now had a total of 14 of us and we swam, biked and ran ourselves to new tans.

The weather was incredible this year. Whereas last year it was really chilly (for Florida) this year was warmer than ever. I don't think the low ever got below 65 and most days were pushing 80. Lots of sunshine and only some fog in the mornings which was a blessing during our long run and long ride. I even was able to swim in the ocean (with wetsuit, although Marty swam without one most of the time). The water was right around 70 degrees. Our typical swim was from our beach house down to a bar about .75 miles away. No, we did not GO to the bar! Sheesh, what do you take us for? ;) That place was always packed, though. Does anyone work around here?

There are lots of tri camps around but none will have a 'Shhh...Don't Tell Momma' store within a couple of miles. Yes, that is a real store. You cannot even imagine the number of jokes and the amount of times that name was said during the day. Just in case you're wondering, they answer the phone with just "Don't Tell Momma" (we were curious!). I may or may not have a totally ghetto gift certificate from them courtesy of our hilarious campers.

The last day of camp was one of the Gasparilla races (half marathon or 8K). We were about half and half for the races, and of course yours truly did the short one. The half marathon started at 6am (suckers!) and the 8k started at a much more manageable (and hot) time of 9am. You may have already seen the self indulgent article I posted that was in the Tampa Tribune. The reporter has known me since I was really young and didn't realize who I was since Marty registered me as Bri Gaal and everyone down there knows me as Brianne Harrington. We had a great conversation catching up on the past 10+ years. His article was very nice :)

So quickie race report - all the fast people did one of the other races (obviously). They also had a 15K and 5K on Saturday. I'm not trying to poo poo my win, but seriously, my time was nothing to write home about. But you betcha I enjoyed breaking the tape and hitting up the VIP tent! My legs were not surprising, pretty dead on the warmup. I didn't care, though. I was just out there for fun and to get a good tempo run in.

As usual, there were lots of people ahead of me at the start. By the first mile I had creeped my way into 3rd place and realized my friend Christina was leading (she had a baby 7 months ago, by the way). I caught up to her at the 2nd mile and dialed back the effort a bit so I could run with her for awhile. I wanted to talk and catch up but she was breathing a bit harder so I left her alone and didn't annoy her. At the 3rd mile I told her I was going to pick it back up and I tempoed it back to the finish, where they made a big deal about me being the record holder (side note - this was the first year they had ever run the 8K - hahaha!) When I finished I got to shake Joan Benoit-Samuelson's hand. So cool.

After the race, there were several trips back and forth to the airport and bike shop as people got ready to leave. A few stayed over Sunday night and we had an impromptu party with them, my friend Joy from high school, Christina and her husband, and Kathy and Anders - love all those guys! Wish we were closer so we could all hang out more.

And now, pictures.

A little foggy, but still a nice ride up the beach to Clearwater, down the Pinellas Trail to downtown St. Pete where we stopped for...

Gelato! And if you're name was Bri, a giant, warm chocolate chip cookie. I felt like a new woman after. Someone asked me what woman...har har.

Dinner with some of the campers at the house before Sue did a mental toughness talk. Excellent stuff from an excellent person.

Fort DeSoto ride - got lots of sun today.

Treasure Island Beach. Great open water swimming this year.

That's us! Another sunset on the beach.

Our core group of 'long week' campers (sans picture-taker Marty). Such fun people.

Camper Carlos having a zen moment as the sun sets.

Laugh/chuckling as they make a big deal about me winning the 8k. One more side note, this was not called an 8k, but rather a 5 + 3k. Uh, what?