Monday, September 23, 2013

Wilmington YMCA 'Race Report'

This year's triathlon went a little different than in years past. This was my 5th time racing this triathlon and my worst finish (haha).

2007: 2nd
2008: 4th
2009: 1st
2010: we did USAT Nationals that year, which was the same weekend
2011: pregnant
2012: 1st
2013: 90th overall, 1st beach cruiser and fastest run split :)

We rented the same beach house as last year, which is one of the the nicest houses I've ever stayed in. We got down there around 5:30pm after a quick stop at the Lighthouse beer store, to freshly delivered pizza. Most everyone who was renting the house with us had arrived and soon after finishing dinner Alysia and I decided we better go down to the garage and assess the beach cruiser situation.

There was only one that had a basket and I was adamant that I needed to ride this one so we could put food/drinks/phone (for pictures of course!) in it. The only problem was this bike's chain was pretty rusted. Lou put a bunch of lube on it, but I don't think it really made a difference. Anyways, after fiddling with the seat which was low, and the handlebars which were loose, we practiced riding down the street.

This is harder than it looks. To brake you back pedal just like on the bike you grew up riding, so you can't actually pedal backwards, or get your pedal in the correct spot to start off which apparently is something I do every time I ride my bike! I didn't even know this. It was awkward starting from a different position.

I also found out earlier that apparently there are all sorts of beach cruisers - even ones with gears where you can get going pretty fast. Alysia and I, being the competitive athletes that we are, had much discussion over the fairness of different types of beach cruisers racing. We are ridiculous.

Race morning came...with rain.Grrrr. Alysia and I left a little earlier than everyone else since we knew it would take us longer to get there and sure enough our housemates came zooming by not long after. We were really slow on these things.

I went and picked my packet up first, and got asked by one of the volunteers "Are you related to Marty Gaal?" which became a running joke all weekend. Mr. Big Deal, that guy. Anyways, I'm not sure if it's because Alysia and I were goofing around or what, but we were both total spazzes pre-race. I left 2 things in my transition bag, which was wrapped in a plastic bag and set by the fence (which was not close to my bike) that I had to go to 2 different times during T1, and Alysia was her usual spacey self getting her own stuff set up. Then we waited in line to get on a trolley and it was just about ready to pull away from the curb when I realized I had left my timing chip in my bag - back in transition. I screamed this to Alysia (who was sitting right next to me) and we both jumped off the bus.

Also, I forgot to mention that we decided to wear costumes for the race. Alysia's shirt says "I'm sexy and I know it"

Here is a picture of my transition.

I could be paranoid, but I'm pretty sure the people next to me were annoyed and rolled their eyes at me while I was setting up. I don't know why they didn't put all the beach cruisers together on one rack.

We did end up making it to the swim start. It was still raining on and off and was a little chilly, but the water was not wetsuit legal much to my chagrin. Although it felt like it should've been when I got in to warmup! But I had a secret weapon -- I had swum TWICE the week before which was a 100% increase to the prior weeks. Uhhhhh. Can you tell I've moved on from triathlon at this point in the season?

We were surprisingly not the last wave - we were wave 8 of 11 and went off with the relays. My swim went as I would've expected, nothing dazzling, but I was able to get out not too far behind Alysia so she didn't have to wait for me in transition. Even with my two trips to my transition bag. She had her own issues, putting on her helmet and then realizing she had forgotten her "I'm sexy and I know it" t-shirt, which wouldn't fit over her helmet.

We ran out of transition and onto our bikes and my handlebars immediately dropped very low as I started off. Then we had to get off of our bikes (along with everyone else) on the metal grading of the one bridge you go over. As I was descending the bridge, I hit a bump which caused my bars to go even lower and my basket was knocked loose. Somehow I managed to catch it but had to yell to Alysia so we could stop and try and fix my handle bars. We man handled the suckers and got them to go back up. Off on our cruisers again only to hit another bump (that first road after the bridge is the worst) and this time the basket flew way in the air and to the side of the road. We stopped again and shoved all the stuff out of the way and just left it there. I did grab my phone and wedged it inside my trisuit. Super comfortable. So we had traveled approximately 1/2 mile and taken around 5min. This was going to be a looooong ride.

It was at this point our friend Zane, who was also doing the beach cruiser division, caught up to us. But if asked about his race, he will likely say, "yeah, I caught Bri and Alysia on the bike" leaving the rest of it out ;)

After that, the bike was fine, albeit very slow. We chatted and complained, cheered and whined our way through the course. Everyone and their mother/brother/grandmother etc, and even many beach cruisers passed us. We truly did suck on those things.

Back in T2, I racked my bike and literally stood there while Alysia fiddled with bandages and chafing issues. A lot of people were already done and milling around transition at this point. I just stood there in my ridiculous costume feeling pretty silly. Then she was ready and she yelled, "OK! Sub 20!!" which really got me going and we completely blew our pacing and started off like complete idiots. In our grass skirts. Our first mile was 6:04. Oopsy. Alysia fell back a bit after that but held strong. Unfortunately she didn't meet her goal of sub 20 (I just snuck under) but we found out from one of our friends who garmins everything that the run was a bit long. That made us feel a bit better! Although after riding those heavy cruisers and using muscles in ways we never have before for that long I'm not sure what we were expecting.

We actually had the fastest and second fastest run splits out of all the girls!

Here we are on the podium. There were more than 2 in our division, but since it was the very last group to be awarded, not many stayed around. But our friends did, and they cheered loud for us.

Sexy and we know it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fun Weekend on Tap

I'm really looking forward to our Wrightsville Beach weekend. Mom-in-law is flying up today to spend some quality time with Logan while we're away and several friends are sharing the beach house with us (including bff Alysia and her husband Jimmy who moved to DC at the beginning of the year).

It will also be nice to actually spend some time with my own husband, who has been MIA between coaching cross country, his real job, and training for the B2B half iron.

Logan rolled over a ball at daycare yesterday and scraped up his face pretty good. Of course it's picture day tomorrow.

When I was just a little older than he is right now, I did the same thing but landed teeth first and split my front tooth in half. I had to have a root canal and they put a cap over it until the tooth finally fell out in first grade. So at least THAT didn't happen.

And this is a totally random picture that never ceases to make me giggle. This is the men's 35-39 start at IM Mont Tremblant. I think the guy on the bottom may have mis-timed his dive.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend of Racing

Saturday morning started with a bang, or more like a scream, from Junior Awesome's room at 3:00am.  I don't know what woke him up but I have a theory that when he wakes up he doesn't know if it's 3 in the morning or 7 in the morning, he just knows that his next move is to scream for us. His room is really dark at all times, maybe we need to change that? Anyways, I got up with him and when I realized we were both sitting on the couch like zombies I turned and asked him, "Do you want to go night-night?" He looked at me, slid off the couch and walked to the stairs saying, "night night, night night" I put him back in his crib and that was that. Until 4:30am when he did it again. We were getting up at 5:15 anyways, but this made for not great sleep for the two of us. And what do we do about these early morning wake ups that he clearly is not intending for (babysitter said he was so tired that he took a nap from 7am-9am!) Parent advice wanted.

We were getting up early for our last event in the Triangle Open Water swim series. There was a front pushing through so it was quite chilly and very windy. The water temperature was still in the 80's as there hadn't been enough time for it to drop yet, so no wetsuits. The water was quite choppy - but this is what makes open water swimming challenging! I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you want flat calm water where you can see perfectly, go do a swim meet.

This did not stop 'swimmer Bri' from coming out when I was getting in the water. She is whiny with a bad attitude. Many friends have dealt with her before (how to deal with her: ignore her but never, ever splash her). She disappeared once the gun went off. I mainly used this race as a workout since I haven't been swimming much and I have one last triathlon next weekend. I figured I'm going to cram some workouts in and hope that it's wetsuit legal on Saturday.

After announcing awards (not my favorite thing to do, deep down I'm an introvert) and cleaning up - and once again, thanks for all my OSB volunteers. You guys rock. Hard. So after all that I went for an hour bike ride. I'll be on a beach cruiser next weekend in the race, but I figured I do need to ride a couple of times to make sure all fitness has not been lost.

Sunday morning, Marty went and killed the swim/bike (Aquabike division) at the Finish Strong half iron distance. Logan and I hung out and I tried to keep my running around with him to a minimum. We still went shopping and to a park, but he also got to watch a few episodes of Elmo which we usually try to keep to a minimum at home. But his number one favorite thing to do right now is chase me or Marty around a loop through our kitchen/dining/living room area, and when he kept asking for me to do that with him I asked, "how about we watch Elmo instead and mama can sit here and relax for 20min?"  He was very amenable to this suggestion.

The reason why I wanted to sit at least for a little while after park playing was because of the Magnificent Mile at 2:20pm in downtown Raleigh.

Kari volunteered to be my sherpa which was awesome because going solo wouldn't have been very fun. Timing was prime nap time for Logan so Marty stayed home with him (and don't think I was fooled, I knew this was also prime nap time for Marty, too). Kari was so awesome and warmed up with me even though she had already also done the aquabike that morning, and run a little after, and done the swim the previous morning, and helped at our packet pickup AND the Finish Strong half packet pickup!!! Then she held my stuff and gave me encouraging words and told me that, no my foot wasn't hurting and I was going to do great and oh I love that girl.

Men went at 2:00pm which I didn't get to see because I was busy doing drills and strides and anything else I could think of that would get me properly warmed up for this effort. But the guy who won did a 4:09. Not bad.

They say this is a flat/fast course, and it is flat...but not as flat as you can get in other places. Downtown Raleigh is not really flat anywhere so this was as good as it gets. The course was a slight incline towards the Capitol, a tight box where you could run 2 good tangents and 2 very hard lefts, and then 400 meters to the finish. I lined up behind the roped off area for the really fast girls but really wanted to figure out how to get in there because instead I was surrounded by little girls and people I knew would get in my way. When they dropped the rope I tried my best to elbow close to the front.

The gun went off and as much as I didn't want to go out too fast, it was inevitable in this type of race. And it's not like there is a lot of time to make any grand moves if you go out too slow. And for what it's worth, I passed people all up to 3/4 of a mile and no one passed me the entire time, so maybe I did need to get out faster. Buuuuut, I don't think it would've been physically possible for me to go any faster at the beginning. The start was crowded and I was super worried about getting tripped/running over some little girl. Anyways, went through half way in 2:38. I knew I wasn't going to hold that pace and it was all about hanging on the best I could. I ended up finishing in 5:26 - 15th overall and my throat and lungs were burning so bad that I was coughing for a solid 30min afterwards. I think Kari probably wanted to kill me.

Here is a picture towards the end that she took. Because of the angle and shadowing it looks like I have a chest - she is a true miracle worker.

I dropped that little girl behind me with 400 to go. I'm really good at dropping little kids in races.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hilton Head

Lots of things have been happening around here and most have kept me very busy and have limited my ability to blog.

We went to Hilton Head to meet up with Marty's sister's family and their dad for his birthday. None of us had ever been and we rented a great house right on the beach. Lots of family fun. I had a bit of cold the entire time which made me sleepily and off my game, and also kept me from sleeping all that well so I was more sleepy (ya know, rinse and repeat, etc). I tried to run one morning with Marty/Logan and it ended with me mostly walking and thinking I was horribly out of shape. So I guess the cold was messing with my head, too, because of course you don't lose fitness that quick.

This week was crazy and our house pretty much looks like a war zone. I did end up signing up for the beach cruiser division at next weekend's triathlon in Wilmington - I'm thinking that bike is actually going to be really hard.

 I can't concentrate. Here are a bunch of pictures.

Endless Elmo on the way to HH. I tried 'Finding Nemo' and he absolutely freaked out. I guess it was a little scary for him.
Checking out the shops in HH
Logan mostly walked up the little lighthouse in HH
With his cousins and papa
Cate, Logan & Jamie
Logan really took a liking to Jamie
Running from the waves
Goofing around
Logan was maybe a little toooo relaxed at dinner
Cousin hug
We went to Marty's high school team's cross country meet last night. This mostly consisted of me chasing Logan around while he looked for dada
Family portrait

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Racing things

Lake Logan was my last triathlon of the season. Kind of early to end on (early Aug) but the only other race I was considering doing was the Wilmington YMCA which is in late September. I really didn't want to have to keep training on the bike (in particular) for just one last sprint that was almost 2 months away. They have a beach cruiser division which I thought would be really fun to do but two things to consider:

1. Probably I'd wind up hurting myself trying to go super duper hard on a beach cruiser
2. Setup has unbendable category rules and most likely I wouldn't be 'allowed' to race in that division since I did the White Lake sprint in the Open category in early April (where I almost froze to death in the water)

I tried to get my friend to sign up for that division with me (that's assuming I could get in) but she thought I was joking and her response was something like 'LOL that's hilarious!'

So I'll be on support crew that morning.

I have been informally targeting some runs here in the fall. Mostly 5K's but in 2 weekends I'm doing the Magnificent Mile, which is a 1 mile race around State Capitol Building (am I supposed to capitalize all that? whatevs). I've never done a road mile like that - should be fun. How the heck do you pace something like that? I'm thinking you don't - you just run as hard as you can until you die.

Unfortunately, I won't exactly be well rested, but it's a mile. Who cares. On that Saturday we have our last open water swim event which I'll be volunteering at, and on that Sunday I'll be in charge of Junior Awesome all morning. Marty is doing the swim-bike of the FS Half that morning. My race isn't until Sunday afternoon. Originally I was going to do the run at the FS Half and we would have a Gaal/OSB relay team complete with a Logan hand-off, but then I realized that both races were on the same day. No, I don't want to run a half-marathon in the morning and then run a mile race in the afternoon.

And now, picture time. Because this blog is boring.

We went to Logan's friend Lizzy's 2nd birthday party. They found a caterpillar on the playground.

Then a bunch of other kids came over and the caterpillar lived about 5 seconds longer after this picture was taken

I had to get new racing flats, and really, I don't typically care what they look like. But these are HIDEOUS.

Logan still has curly hair. We haven't cut it yet so we're not sure if they'll come back or not. A lot of people have told us that after you cut their initial curls that is it. That is weird. Some days, like this one, it looks like he has one giant Superman curl in the middle of his forehead
Dada's gotten quite good at blowing a giant bubble
Family bike ride on the greenways to a local park. Logan went down the slide 3 times before a giant thunder sounded. We hightailed it out of there quickly, which in all actuality is not very quick at all beause Marty is not speedy towing Logan in the Chariot.