Sunday, August 30, 2015

Battle at Buckhorn Race Report

The Battle at Buckhorn is a fairly competitive local race in the town of Wilson which is about 1 hour away from Raleigh. I had been targeting this race for the past month after getting tired of feeling crappy while racing on my less than focused training.  As mentioned in past blogs, I became 'serious' which means all sorts of different things to everyone, but for me it meant not blowing off training and putting myself with groups that were going to push me harder than I can push myself.  I managed to keep it together throughout the past 4 weeks, even with all of our weekend plans and was hitting around 9-10hrs a week.

I was excited for this race! We were going to know a ton of people out there and the overall prize is a really nice belt buckle. Not that this is something I would actually wear but Marty has 3 of them on display from his wins in 2009, 2010 and 2011. I wanted one, too!

The morning of, I was talking to the best babysitter in the world while eating my breakfast at 5:45am. I saw Marty with my black backpack that I had set by the door walking out to the car. I grabbed my purse and water bottles and we were on the road at 6:00.  We only had one wrong turn which is very typical of us (so whoever decided to follow us towards the end, now you know better).  We got to the outer parking lot just after 7, which left us plenty of time to get over to transition. We had already picked up our packets on Thursday evening at InsideOut Sports, and it was going to be nice to not feel rushed and just warmup!

I got out of the car and looked into the backseat.

"Marty where's my backpack?"

"What? I don't know."

"But I saw you carry it out to the car before we left."

"Bri, I never grabbed your backpack."

My face must've looked bad at this point, I know my stomach was at my feet, because Marty's next words were, "Are you kidding me? You left your entire transition bag at home?!"

Okay. Okay. Think. I am wearing my race outfit. My helmet is in the car, my bike is on the rack.  Marty has extra goggles.  I have on my trainers. They probably will let me compete without my run number. Can I do this 17 mile hilly bike in my regular running shoes on top of my pedals? Because that is my best option right now.  HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID?!?!?!

There she is, packed to the gills, waiting for her owner to put her in the car. Right. By. The. Door.

I ride my bike to transition and head to Primo, who's on the computer. We exchange pleasantries then I sheepishly tell him I've left my entire transition bag at home and would they happen to have a spare women's size 9.5 bike shoe with Look pedals that aren't even made anymore? Bobby Dixon overhears and runs this info over to the DJ to announce and now everyone knows what a dumdum I am.

Of course, this is not the spare something that someone might have laying around in their car. This is when Anne MacDonald walks up to me and says, look, you will use my shoes and Dave will switch out the pedals.  I don't need to do this race; my race is in 2 weeks.  This is your 5th race in the series and you need to do it.

It's at this point that I start to lose it a little.  She is being so nice, and this is my fault! She can't sacrifice her race for me! I can't say yes to this!

She is very persuasive. I reluctantly say, ok. Her shoes are about 1 - 1.5 sizes to small, but doable.  I feel horrible.  I ride my bike with her pedals and shoes and it's fine.  I am still conflicted and then Jason runs up with his flat pedals from his mountain bike and Anne will use these.  But shouldn't I use these?  What is going on here - our friends are the best.

At this point its time to get in the water and I feel like I have already done a race.

Everything else is pretty unremarkable after my pre-race antics.  The most exciting thing is they decided to start the entire race, men and women, (~160 competitors) together. I swam okay, better than I have, but nothing to really write about.  My T1 was slow as I felt like Cinderella trying to fit my too big feet into the small glass slipper.  The bike was fine - her pedals have a ton more float than mine so I wasn't comfortable getting out of the saddle (so I didn't).  The bike is a long 17 miles on country rolling roads.  I passed a few guys and a few passed me.  I passed Erin early on in the bike to move into first and held it the rest of the race.  I looked at my feet several times during the bike, and thought, oh look how cute and tiny they look! They were glad to get out of the shoes by the end. My poor crunched toes.

T2 was also very slow. Tying and double knotting your shoes is not quick.  My racing flats with speed laces were waiting patiently for me back home in the bag.  My run felt good, or at least better than it has. It helped that we really lucked out with a gorgeous day. I was able to pass a few guys and saw Marty rocking the speedo a bunch of times on this two loop, out and back course.

I finished first and won the belt buckle.  I feel like I should give it right to Anne who finished second in her age group by just 20 seconds.  Certainly if she had her bike shoes and cleats this would've made up that difference.


All of that drama for this.

And just to add insult to injury, on my cooldown I was stung by a wasp on my leg.

So yeah. Just because you have been doing triathlons for 20 years doesn't mean you are immune to some very big, rookie mistakes.  I'm so thankful for everyone who helped me out at the race.  We really are surrounded by great people.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tweetsie Railroad

This has been the summer of short vacations for us.  We did another this past weekend, taking advantage of a little gem North Carolina has to offer in the mountains – The Tweetsie Railroad! This was one of America’s first amusement parks and is themed around a steam locomotive that ran from Johnson City, Tennessee to Boone, NC from 1917 – 1950.  It has a wild west theme with lots of cowboys and Indians and amusement rides.  Tweetsie is just outside of Blowing Rock which is a super cute mountain town that we always ride into during our summer Boone Camp.  Marty and I have always said that we would definitely take Logan once he was old enough to enjoy it and now seemed like a perfect time.

We drove the 3 or so hours to Blowing Rock on Friday evening and got to Tweetsie pretty much right when it opened on Saturday.  Logan loved it and had a great time.  He LOVES all the rides, and wants to do every fast, spinning thing possible. I have to opt out of the spinny rides in my advanced age as I now get motion sick but Marty is still game, thank goodness.  The train with the fake stickup and indian raid are fun for young kids and they had a petting zoo at the back of the park with lots of deer, goats, emu’s and llamas. Llama’s do spit; I saw him/her spit on a kid! Overall we really had a great time. I thought it might be too hokey but it was perfect for Logan – not too big or crowded (I think Disney would be waaaay too much for him right now) but still lots to do and a lot of fun.  Also, he’s terrified of the character’s that walk around.  Tweetsie just has a rabbit and a turtle but he was always asking, “Where’s the rabbit??? Pick me up, mommy!!”

After Tweetsie, Marty and Logan took their afternoon naps while I wasted time in a coffee shop reading a book.  Then we walked into downtown and had dinner and then Logan played in the park right in the center of town.  The next morning we had a great run to Bass Lake before stuffing ourselves full of yummy breakfast and heading home.

This weekend: The Battle at Buckhorn, a cookout in the evening, then the Durham Bulls on Sunday. Can’t stop won’t stop.
Getting ready to roll on the locomotive


Ferris Wheel!

Heading up to the top on the chairlift

Watch out, they spit

Panning for gold

More ferris wheel!

Tilt-a-whirl (no thank you)

Logan's pop gun is a new favorite toy

Tackling the climbing wall at the playground in Blowing Rock

Lollipop and a little doggie (which he named Tassie) to end the trip

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mid-August (aka where has the summer gone)

We’re humming along in the Gaal household. Actually, instead of humming we are talking about the Minions, which was Logan’s first movie in a movie theatre! Marty took him a couple of weeks ago and he loved it. He only got scared once and they had to leave for a little bit. Then I took him the following week and now every time we’re in the car he says, “Talk about the Minions, mommy” which means “Recite the entire movie, mommy.” We also had fun in the Asheville area the other weekend so Marty could do the Lake Logan Half. My dad has a cabin not too far away from part of the bike course so we rode his motorcycle out to catch Marty.  He had a great day and I’m glad we got to cheer for him even if it was for just a few seconds.

Logan had a good time, also, playing with the pool table (or as he would say, “can I go play with the water balls?”) – get it? Hahaha, Logan. They really do say funny things.  We are also fully potty trained!! Wow, didn’t think that was ever going to happen.

Training is still going pretty good. I’m feeling strong and….tired. Hopefully, I can finish off these last two races well. But getting into shape right now is not just for these races, it’s to build a base for next year because Marty and I signed up for, wait for it, The American TripleT.  With friends, who coerced us to do it.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an iron-distance over the course of a weekend.  You start with a super sprint on Friday night, an Olympic Saturday morning, an Olympic Saturday evening, and you end with a half on Sunday morning.  What have a I done?

My dad taking a picture of me taking a picture of Marty at the Lake Logan Half
Caught him in between all the trees!

Logan wasn't too impressed with this horse


But he was all smiles for the fake bear

We're making some progress at his swim class. He wouldn't jump in for the longest time.  When he's ready for something, he's ready. You can't really push this kid.

Feeding the ducks at Bond Park

Little guy getting big

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hardcore is in the eye of the beholder

Operation Serious Bri has completed week number one. In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to “try and be a little more serious and consistent with my training over the next 4 weeks and feel better at The Battle at Buckhorn.”  Guess what? I’m exhausted.  Here’s what my week look liked:

Monday: short lift at work, 30min easy run after work

Tuesday: Masters (!) I got in at the warmup, and got out at the cooldown, which yeah, I get it. That’s what you’re supposed to do, but I haven’t done that in probably over a year. Then I did a track workout that night where Oyler the Metronome paced me through 11 400’s.  I have no idea why the workout called for 11 of them.

Wednesday: 45min core class at work. This makes me very sore. I also have to cheat on some of the exercises.

Thursday: OSB interval run in the morning. I ran this at a moderate effort since I did track on Tuesday. Also because: Hard group ride after work. I was worried about getting dropped but hung on for most of the ride and felt pretty good. Towards the end I was taking my pull when all of the sudden several riders came flying by me. Apparently I was the lead-out for the sprint. I then (mistakenly) thought that would be the end of the hard section and we would ride in together, so I didn’t make an effort to bridge the gap. And then they were gone to finish off the hard section down one more road. Now I know.

Friday: swim in evening with friend Carrie.  This was tough, but a good workout. 

Saturday: Met Carrie (again) and her husband Whit for a 40mile bike/4mile run. This was great. Not that I felt great, but the company was great and I have literally not done a workout that long in over 2 years. Those two went onto do another 20miles on the bike and a 2mile run. They are going to crush Timberman. I couldn’t stay with them on the run, either. They are so fit.

Sunday: 8mile run with Anne Mac at a steady long run talk the whole time pace. Then play in the pool with Logan. Wow, I was really tired by then.

I turned around and got up for Master’s this morning (and made Carrie meet me). I felt horrible. But I got it in and that counts for something!