Bri Gaal - 2004 Blog

Dec 30 - Its been a great week for us so far. You can't beat getting up at 8 or 9, going for a swim, eating a nice breakfast, then coming home to work on whatever. Wish I could do this all the time...And then I think of all the people in the opposite side of the world and what they must be going through. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around that many people dying from a tsunami, much less families being ripped apart or not knowing where a loved one or friend is. We are so lucky. I should never complain.

Dec 27 - We all had a nice time down in St. Pete for the Christmas holiday. My sister, Shana, flew into Orlando on Thursday night and we went out in downtown O-town, before driving down to my mom's on Christmas eve. We had our traditional Christmas dinner of grandma's home-baked lasagna. I can't even begin to describe how good it is. And my grandma is such a great person she actually made Marty and me another full dish of it so we can freeze it and eat it later this week. Too nice. In other news, we successfully painted our living room and hallway this afternoon without any problems (hey, we ain't too handy, so even painting could get tricky! ;) Tomorrow we're going to tackle the office and maybe even the kitchen on Wednesday. We are both off all week, as our company shuts down for the entire week between Christmas and New Year's, so we try to catch up on this type of stuff.

Dec 19 - Friday night we went to Jim and Karen Shea's holiday party. Little did I know that Marty had hijacked it and turned it into 'Holiday/Surprise Graduation Party for Bri!' I was very confused when I walked in, but the party was a ton of fun. On Thursday, Marty signed us up for the Santa Cash for Christmas 5K The weather was great last night and after doing 2 workouts since Thanksgiving I felt much better. I officially ran 20:06, which is a 2 minute improvement from the Orlando Turkey Trot. It was a small turnout but a really nice race.

Dec 13 - Its official! I now have an MBA.

Dec 8 - This weekend I'll be heading up to Chesapeake, Virginia by way of Raleigh, North Carolina. My oldest sister, Heather, and her husband and daughter live in Virginia. She's due to have her second girl in February, so we're throwing her a baby shower. It's also her daughter's (my cute niece) 6th birthday, so we'll be celebrating that, too. I'm flying in to Raleigh on Friday night which is where my other sister, Shana, lives, and we're going to drive up together to Virginia on Saturday morning. It should be a fun weekend! I've never been up to visit Heather yet, so that'll be neat (they just moved there a couple of years ago, they used to be in Guam). Plus, the weather isn't looking too frigid yet which I am very thankful for. I've got very thin Florida blood :)

Dec 5 - Most of the weekend was spent writing and revising our papers. Everytime I read mine, I think of something new to add, or something I should delete. When I'm not in front of my computer stressing about my paper, I'm away from my computer stressing about my paper! It would be a lot easier if we had any clue what this professor was expecting, but with everything he has presented in this course, its been with confusing and jumbled communication. Even after we turn our papers in, we probably won't find out our grade almost two weeks.

We did manage to have a bit of fun this weekend, including watching the OUC half-marathon run right by our condo. We jogged to the finish and hung out a bit then went to the Y to lift before we jogged home. It turned out to be a pretty long run for me, but it was such a beautiful day I hardly noticed. We also made it to Carey Kosson's Wine & Cheese party again this year, which was a ton of fun. And we had a nice ride in Windermere this morning, albeit with a little more traffic than I would've liked.

Dec 1 - I'm done with having to drive to UCF (and incidentally, saving $19.30 a week, heh heh). The only thing I have left to do is write a 15 page industry analysis paper and turn it in by Tuesday. Graduation, of course, is contingent on me passing the class Marty referenced yesterday, Business Strategy and Policy. We have quite the lunatic teacher...

Nov 29 - Just to clear up any confusion, I didn't really set a PR. What I did was go faster than I ran at Richard's Run for Life. Its all about the spin, people. You could say that I PR'd for November of 2005, or you could say I ran the second slowest 5K in my past 13 years. So to keep it positive, I'll go with what Marty said: I PR'd for the 2005 season. But seriously, I am feeling better with each run, and think I'll be getting myself back into good running shape in the next few weeks.

Nov 20 - My thoughts on the 2004 NBC Hawaiian Ironman Coverage:

Nov 15 - We had a great time in St. Pete this past weekend. We were going to ride with my dad on Saturday morning but a drizzle and cooler temperatures had us eating at the local IHOP instead. You gotta love the off season! We celebrated my sister Heather's 30th birthday and then took my niece to Busch Gardens on Sunday. The park wasn't very crowded which made it much more enjoyable. We also saw a gorilla give another gorilla a strong right cross to the face after trying to wake it up by pulling on its toe. Too funny.

We have an exam tomorrow night in our strategy course. I'm happy to report that this is actually my last school exam forever! After tomorrow night I'll just have papers and presentations to worry about.

Nov 11 - I calculated tonight how much money it actually costs me to drive to school two nights a week. The dollar amount astounded me. Round trip from our condo to work to UCF is 60 miles (!). I'm using about 3.2 gallons of gas for this trip which costs me roughly $6.40. Tolls add up to $3.25. I have class two nights a week so I'm spending $19.30 each week! Granted, the benefits of obtaining my MBA should outweigh these costs but still! As a comparison, for me to drive to work and back home again only costs me $2.32. Luckily, as most of you know since I talk about it all the time on here, I'm very close to graduation. Basically, after graduation I will be keeping a total of $68.02 a month in my pocket.

Nov 7 - We drove down to Tampa last night to run in Richard's Run for Life 5k . I figured that running 8 minute pace would probably be a struggle for me based off of my very few easy runs, but I surprised myself. I went out right at 8 minute pace and felt great. I picked it up the second mile and ran about 6:50, then backed off a little and ran 7:10 for the last mile with a total time of 22:49. I can honestly say I haven't run that slow since I was a very little girl, but I was completely fine with it last night!

Nov 2 - I heard in class tonight that the Orlando area has the highest percentage of political ads in the entire country. That's something I'm looking forward to after this election hoopla, not having to see attacks from both sides every time I turn on the tv. I guess many of you realize that my loveable husband has some pretty strong political views. Remember, this is just our silly website so he (we) can say whatever we want. So with that in mind, I can't believe how hostile people get based on party lines! Geez, everyone, simmer down. Obviously, if the country has been so split there is good and bad in each candidate. You are not always right. I am not always right. Can we all try to get along?

Oct 30 - I had a really busy week at work. It went by very quick, though. Things are really heating up at school, too. We only have about 5 weeks left, but we have an amazing amount of work to still accomplish. I am beginning to see the light -- its dim and small, but its there!

Tonight we're going to have some fun and go to a party for halloween and then maybe head downtown afterwards. Downtown Orlando is quite a scene on Halloween. I'm going as a genie this year. Marty is a bit of scrooge when it comes to this type of thing so he of course doesn't have a costume. He may end up going as a cyclist.

And finally, I ran for 20 minutes on Thursday and felt no pain. I've started wearing a thigh wrap compression thingy courtesy of Melissa Hall (a fabulous sports masseuse). I ran for another 20 minutes this morning and just felt the pain of not running for quite awhile. Running is hard!

Oct 24 - Marty never ceases to amaze me. He has such a great attitude about all of this stuff. A lot of people would be disappointed with how his day ended up, but he is completely satisfied. He knew he did all he could possibly do and he's happy with it. He dug so deep out there during that run I can only begin to imagine the physical and mental pain he went through. Anyways, its so refreshing to be around someone who has such a nice perspective on this sport (which is only a hobby!), instead of the usual athlete who is disappointed and analyzing everything. I've got to say it again, I'm so proud of him!

Oct 23 - Wow, what a day out in Clermont. It was just a brutally tough one for most folks. Marty was a total stud and came out of the water first and off the bike first. It was just wasn't in the cards today for him on the run, but as my dad said, a lesser man would've stopped. He didn't and kept chugging along and still managed a top ten finish. I'm so proud of him.

Oct 21 - I was going to update my site but realized I just didn't have anything to say.

Oct 16 - Yesterday morning I found out I'm going to finally be a full time salaried employee at Lockheed Martin. This is great because I will finally get vacation as well as a competitive salary for my degrees and experience. Its nice to feel valued at your company. I could go into all sorts of rants about working for Corporate America cubicle world, but right now I just don't care. Trying to get a decent job in this day is very difficult, no matter what the politicians are saying.

I'm giving my leg a good rest right now. I'm debating going to see a doctor; I'd like to but just don't quite know how to fit it in, or if they'll just say, "you need to give your leg a rest." I can ride the trainer easy and swim so that's what I'll be doing for the next week or so. We watched 'Supersize Me' last night and that's enough motivation to make sure I don't slack off on my health on this downtime.

Oct 10 - I don't know what's going on -- I don't get injured! I don't do enough mileage to get injured! I took the time off from the half ironman I did and eased back into running. Everything was going great. I was very slowly adding minutes and keeping everything at a nice pace. I was still taking days off that were just too busy with work and school. Last Friday I decided to do an easy lift and swim. I was in the weight room and saw a girl doing step ups and thought that would be a great exercise for me to do; we always did it in college and I thought it would be a good strength builder. I did it with 8 pound weights, so nothing incredible, but the next morning my right leg was killing me again. The same one that hurt bad after the half. It almost feels exactly like it felt after the half - difficult to go downstairs, etc. I guess I'm back to the drawing board and going to have to take some more time off. And the next time I decide to lift, I'm going to do it with kid gloves.

Oct 7 - But talking in my sleep seems a little more normal than someone else who was BIKING in their sleep! Geez, Marty! I had to wake him up so his legs would stop going.

Oct 4 - Talk about having my MBA on the brain. Last night I was apparently talking in my sleep. Marty said I blurted out, "No! We can still make a profit!"

Oct 2 - This week has been very busy. Two nights of school a week just isn't fun, but I think there are only nine weeks left. I've been trying to be a little more consistent with my running. Nothing very far, but I'm starting to feel a little bit better. I watched some of the Downtown Triathlon this morning. It looked like a lot of fun out there. After that I met a group from one of my classes for four hours to work on an enormous paper that's due on Wednesday. Marty and I also have a test in our Tuesday night class. So I guess next week will again be a busy one.

Sep 27 - We made it through another hurricane with only (hopefully) some minor water damage around our windows. We went through lots of towels trying to sop up all the water that was coming in. Amazingly, we never lost power the entire time which was really nice, except for the 24 hour hurricane coverage they had on every channel! Our other resort was bad movies on TBS. We chose TBS. One thing I saw yesterday that I hope I never do again is our walls actually flexing inwards with the huge gusts of winds pounding right into them. It looked like we were in some horror movie. I honestly don't know how you northern people stay inside all day in the winter time. One day cooped up in our condo and Marty and I were ready to strangle ourselves (not each other, which reveals how well we deal each other :).

Sep 25 - Been doing some easy exercise and have been feeling much better. Nothing hurts too bad anymore, but I'm still just going to do easy training for the next couple of weeks so I don't feel like a slug. Of course, the big news around here is this next hurricane that's about ready to hit us. I'm sure you can imagine everyone's disgust. Its almost become a routine thing - get through week, prepare for hurricane on weekend, repeat.

Sep 21 - I've been taking it easy all week because I managed to mess up my leg a bit from the half. During the run, once the knife got stuck in my leg around mile 9.5, I apparently starting favoring it and proceeded to strain my hip and hamstring and some muscle in my back that pulls everything up. I went and got a great massage last night (great = most painful massage of my life). I'm hoping to start running easy again soon, I just miss it too much. I can spin easy on the bike and swim fine, but I guess I'm just a runner at heart :)

Sep 18 - Here is my 2004 Duke Half IM race report.

Sep 13 - We are back safe and sound from North Carolina. The race was actually pretty fun, on quite a challenging course. I finished respectfully, nothing earth-shattering, but I'm pretty happy with it. The swim was way long, and the bike was about a mile long, so the times are a bit off. I wish I had held it together a little better on the run, only because I really did feel pretty great until about 9.5 miles. It was also nice to hang out with both of my sisters and my mom, as well as with the Noordstar's after the race for some post-race celebratory fun (Christina, by the way, kicked some major arse out there). Now I'm hobbling around like an old lady while Marty looks like he barely did anything. He did four back handsprings and double flip in the time it took me to limp from our front door to our bedroom.

Sep 9 - The moment of truth is upon me, and I'm very nervous. This Sunday I'll be competing in my first half-ironman in North Carolina. I definitely have a lot of doubts, as I don't think that I got all the training in I had hoped for, but I can only do my best and try to be satisfied with it. My swim volume has been very low all summer. I'm not too worried about it, though. I won't come out in a great time, but I can still swim. The thing with swimming for me is I would have to put in a ton of work, and I would maybe drop 20 or 30 seconds. It just wasn't worth it with the time I had. My bike should be fine. I've done several rides over 50 miles, so I know I'll get through it okay. It could be quite hilly, so I guess I'll just get up them however I can. Then its on to the run - my strength?? Not in long distances! I have still yet to run a full 13 miles (I'll be able to check that off the list on Sunday...). My last long run was, unfortunately, 3 weeks ago. I just wasn't able to get another solid one in since then. But we do what we can. I'm definitely going into this race with the main goal of enjoying myself and having fun. I'm not out to break any speed records, but I do hope I get under 6 hours.

Sep 6 - What a weekend. We had a nice time visiting the family down in St. Pete, got in some (windy) training, and caught up on our sleep. (What else can you do during a storm like that?) It would be a really, really bad joke if this next hurricane ends up heading our way. I've lived in Florida my entire life and have never had to deal with this stuff before.

Sep 1 - We really weren't happy to hear about this next monstrous hurricane headed our way. Looks like we may head to St. Pete for the weekend instead of staying in our rickety-old condo. Its too bad, as my sister was going to fly down here for the long weekend. She's decided to take a voucher instead and come down some other time. I'm still hoping for a turn in Frances' track, though. Maybe we'll even get some good training in - I need it before next weekend!

Aug 29 - We had a good time at the Deland Triathlon this morning. Camp Winona is such a nice location for a race and you can't beat the free breakfast you get afterwards. I felt pretty comfortable the entire way. I didn't push too hard on any event, just tried to go at a fast-tempo rate. Its also a little different doing a swim-run-bike and finishing on your bike. Now its time to do some homework.

Aug 28 - This week has been quite busy. I started my last two classes for my MBA and already have piles of homework. I was able to keep my training pretty much on track, but will probably need to take a break after the half in two weeks. I got in a 4K swim yesterday morning and a 5 mile run last night. This morning I rode with a small group out to the Yalaha Country Bakery near Howey-in-the-hills. There's no better way to break up a ride than with gourmet pastries. We still got in all the necessary hills, too. And tomorrow morning we're doing the Deland Triathlon . I'm obviously not resting up for it; just using it as a good workout. The only bad thing is the first race of the track shack series was rescheduled for tomorrow also. Its pretty competitive so missing one race is probably going to keep me out of the series awards at the end. But I really wanted to do another tri this summer since I haven't done too many.

Aug 23 - This has got to be one of the biggest fleecings in America. Student textbook prices are OUTRAGEOUS!!! Average price of my textbooks this semester? $130. For EACH textbook. Yes, you read that correctly, one hundred and thirty dollars. I have to buy 2 textbooks and at least one workbook. The workbooks run around $40. What makes this robbery even more disgusting is that publishers are constantly releasing newer editions. You could risk getting the older edition, but then chapters, page numbers, cases, etc. could all be missing or out of order. So not only do they force us to pay an astronomical amount of money, but then when you try to resell them back to the bookstore they refuse you because they are going to be selling the next latest edition for the next semester!

Aug 18 - I had a very windy ride out in Windermere tonight. Marty and I had planned on riding extra after and then running, but we got stormed out. There are still tons of people without power up here and I really feel for them in this oppressive heat we've been having. Its even harder to imagine what the people down in the southwest coast are dealing with.

This weekend is our last hurrah before we start up the semester at UCF. We're flying out to Chicago to visit the famous (or is it infamous...) Dan Traver! This was actually our awesome wedding gift from him, and since he's a Chicago native we'll be getting the ultimate grand tour. I'm sure it will be a blast. And I've caught up on my Chicago history having just finished "The Devil in the White City." Interesting book, but I wouldn't read the final chapters before you go to bed like I did.

Aug 15 - We're back! We got our power back on today (although it stinks like you wouldn't imagine since all our food went bad). We've been staying with the best hosts in the world, Marc and Amy Bonnet-Eymard, all weekend. First off, let me be the first to say, I was very scared Friday night. I have never heard or felt wind like I did that night, and its very unnerving to hear tree after tree snap, objects pelt at your walls, and the floor slightly moving beneath your feet. Even after the weather people announced that it was going to pass right over downtown Orlando, I didn't bat an eye. I mean, come on! It was going to go over so much land before it got to us! Why are they freaking us out? It's just going to be a bad thunderstorm. Boy, was I wrong.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, I could not believe what it looked like in our neighborhood. Almost every tree was either down or major limbs had been broken off. Power lines were all over the place. Debris was everywhere. Most roads were blocked. Luckily, our condo complex only suffered some cosmetic damage; many weren't so lucky. I'll tell you one thing, if I'm ever in an area where they say a hurricane may hit, I am so far out of there. I don't care if people laugh and say I'm overreacting, if that was a strong Category 1 hurricane, I don't want to experience anything higher.

One funny thing, I was talking to my mom before the storm came. Originally, they were predicting it to bear right down on St. Pete, where my parents live. I said to her, "Oh, those weather guys are always wrong in their predictions! Probably the best place to be in a hurricane is exactly where they predict the path will go!" I was right, they barely got rain.

Training was pretty much a wash (heh heh heh) yesterday. But Amy and I did get 60+ miles this morning. And we totally blew by Sheila Taormina! So what if she was riding easy talking on her cell phone, we went by her like she was standing still! :)

Aug 13 - Happy Friday the 13th! I realize my husband is an extremely cynical man, but I do hope that everyone down in the Tampa Bay area gets through the storm okay. I've got my mom, dad, and grandma (and more extended family) all right there in Charley's path and hopefully they will get through it without any major damage.

Aug 11 - I had a pretty good ride out in Windermere tonight, followed by a short run. It made me wonder how the heck I'm going to get off my bike and run 13.1 miles in the race...

Aug 9 - My car died. Again.

Aug 8 - I had a pretty good weekend of training. Got in a good long ride Saturday morning and then a short swim which I felt surprisingly strong in. I slept in this morning for the first time in a long time and then got a nice long run with some tempo thrown in. I'm definitely feeling much stronger. Next weekend I'm going to get another long ride in and then run the first Track Shack series run on Sunday morning. I'm sure my legs will be tired but at this point I need to focus on the longer stuff so I can get through that half ironman okay.

Aug 5 - I've been having major car issues and its really a pain in the butt. Luckily, I have a 100,000 mile warranty but its hard to have one car between the two of us when we don't work remotely close to one another. I end up dropping Marty off at work and then fighting my way through rush hour traffic on the 408 and I-4. Its not been a fun week. Keep your fingers crossed that it starts two more times so I can get it to work and home before I drop it off at the dealership for the 3rd time in one month.

In other news, my sister, Shana, is almost to her new home in Raleigh, North Carolina. She had been living in Seattle, Washington for several years and recently got a job in the state we all knew she would end up in (she went to Chapel Hill and is an obnoxiously huge fan). My mom flew out to Seattle to drive across the country with Shana and her 8 month old lab, Carter (named after, Vince, obviously!). They're in Virginia right now visiting our oldest sister before they make their final drive into NC.

Aug 2 - What a weekend! We had a very fun time in Iowa City for Anne's wedding. How anyone can get through the University of Iowa without having a serious drinking problem is beyond me! There are bars every other step and drink specials galore. Needless to say, everyone had a great time, and the wedding was a blast.

My training has been going a bit downhill, but its been for good reasons (4 days in Iowa City...). I was getting stressed out a bit last week because I had planned on doing the 3rd Clermont Sprint this coming weekend and I felt that I would be missing a lot of workouts, plus that weekend would be another missed opportunity for some long training for my half that is coming up. I realized I was being silly and didn't have to race! I hadn't even signed up for the sprint, so I've decided to just use this weekend as another good training weekend. It'll be nice to be at home and catch up on household stuff. Our laundry pile rivals Pike's Peak right now.

July 25 - Amy and I got in a good 50 miler this morning. It never ceases to amaze me how hot it gets here in the summer. Every year I ask, "Is it always this hot?!" I guess I forget the bad stuff easily or something! Marty and I just got back from seeing The Bourne Supremacy. Pretty good movie. Marty has read all the books and said they aren't really following much of the original plot line, but that those are also good reads. I'll see if I can get through them before I begin my final trek down the education highway when I start my last two graduate classes at the end of August. So can I start siging my name, Brianne H. Gaal, M.B.A.? ;)

July 24 - Marty, John Pham, and I all had a nice, humid, Florida long run today on the dirt roads of Windermere. They ran for 2 hours and I managed my longest run of the year at 1:30:00. Even though I ran in college I was always a very low mileage runner so these long runs are usually a struggle for me. I'm planning on getting it up to about 1:45 a couple of times before the half.

July 19 - Marty and I had a really fun time up in Jersey. It was great hanging out with everyone up there. We got in some good runs on the boardwalks and beaches and I managed a 3rd place in my age group at the open water (and very rough) swim we did in Wildwood Crest. Our next big event takes place in two weeks up in Iowa City where one of my very best friends will be getting married.

July 15 - We're leaving in a couple of hours for the Jersey shore. It should be a fun weekend - hanging out with all of Marty's lifeguard buddies. We'll get some nice beach running in and we're planning on doing an open water ocean mile swim on Saturday afternoon. I'm definitely wearing a wetsuit whether its legal or not - that water is cold up there!

July 11 - Clermont #2 today went much better than the first. In just 3 weeks I dropped 2:44 over the same course and I felt much stronger and more competitive. Overall, I went just a few seconds faster on the swim, 1:43 faster on the bike and :46 faster on the run. I still have some room for improvement on the run, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy with the race. The big bike miles I've been putting in have helped. But hey, I've got a good coach.

July 8 - I love when July rolls around because it means the Tour. I've been watching it ever since I was a little girl with my dad. We were lucky to get a half hour at night, and then a full recap on the weekends. I even wrote to Greg LeMond, asking him if I could have one of the stuffed lions he always won (Hey, I was 8!). His wife actually wrote me back and told me that they usually gave them away to teammates families. I still have that card tucked away somewhere. I definitely go through Tour-Letdown when its all over. I sit at work all morning constantly checking the live updates, and even tried to listen to the live audio, but it didn't come through very well for me. Anyways, I'm pulling for Lance. I really hope he wins 6. Since I'm rambling tonight, I also have a Lance story. My sister, Shana, was racing in the National Sprint Distance Championship Triathlon in Aventura, Florida, back when I was about 10 and she was 13 (I think, don't quote me). Anyways, I was just tagging along because I liked to go to the races. The day before we were checking out the expo and my sister and dad really wanted to hang around and hear some young hotshot pro talk a little later. Again, I was 10, so all I wanted to do was get some pizza and go to the hotel. I whined and begged and pleaded to no avail. We waited around for this pro to blah blah blah. I couldn't see a thing because I was too short and there were people everywhere, and it was b-o-r-i-n-g (like I even know since I wasn't paying attention). Finally, he was done and we could leave - yay! So as you have probably guessed, the pro was Lance, and he went on to win the race the next day. My sister, for what's it worth, was the 19 & under winner - way to go national champ :)

July 5 - Marty and I had a real nice weekend. we hung out with the father-in-law and got some good training down in South Florida. Like Marty said, we made it back up to the Clermont area for a nice long run in the hills. This set me up nicely for a tough bike ride this morning with the girls. Afterwards, we were all treated to homemade waffles by Amy. All in all, it was a great weekend. Makes me really wish I could win the lottery...

June 30 - Track workout tonight with the Downtown Y running club: 3 x 1 mile with 3:00 in between. Held mine all under 6:00...I'll take it.

June 29 - So we got a rolling pin as one of our gifts for our wedding. I must have been dreaming when I registered for it, because when the heck am I going to use one of those? I'll tell you when - and it didn't cost me $29.95.

June 27 - I had a good weekend of training - I was even tri-geeked up enough to get up at 5:30 each morning so I could get my long workouts in. I'm going to get myself in shape one way or another! I also saw 'Saved!' which I could totally relate to since I went to a Southern Baptist high school. Funny stuff.

June 24 - A big congratulations goes out to Kimberly Leerssen and Kevin Grogan on their very recent engagement!

June 20- Crikey! That Clermont Sprint hurt! I learned two things today. 1) When you are not in shape, sprint triathlons are very painful. 2) I am not in shape. It was a scorcher of a day, and good wake up call for me to get my bootie back into form. I really did try my best, but it just wasn't very fast. Had a lot of people beat me who haven't done that before, but hey, good for them! Competition is what makes us all get better. So now I'm looking forward to getting some solid training under me and seeing where I'm at when the second sprint of the series rolls around in July. Who knew that changing my last name to 'Gaal' would make me so slow ;)

June 18 - I'm looking forward to finally racing on Sunday. I'm a very competitive person so I know I'm going to probably be ranting about how I could've done this better or that better. But I'm just going to try to keep it fun. Nothing is at the level I would normally be at, but I'm still going to try my best and learn from it.

June 16 - Track workout #2 went well tonight. I was able to get both of my mile repeats under 6:00, and hold my 400s at about :80. My run is starting to improve. Marty has class on Wednesday so I got to sneak in The Simple Life tonight. Those shows are a guilty pleasure of mine - I know, I know, I probably just lost some brain cells because of it.

June 14 - I always enjoy watching Marty race, and this weekend was no exception. I get so excited when I'm out there and I just want him to be happy with his effort that I get very nervous. You'd think I was racing with the amount of times I went to the bathroom on Sunday morning! I squeezed in a bit of a long run during his bike ride and I can reaffirm it was very hot and humid out there. My fitness test is coming up this Sunday in Clermont. I think I'm most excited about wearing my cute new Sugoi racing outfit.

June 10 - For those of you who are wondering, I did pop out of bed right when my alarm went off and swam. I then worked for 9.7 hours, drove 45 minutes to meet Marty to ride - which we did in the rain, and then finished it off with a short run. I feel like a triathlete again.

June 9 - I did my first track workout in many, many months tonight. It went surprisingly well. I'm definitely not burning it up out there, but I was able to hold a decent pace for the entire 5000 meter workout. Marty wrote me a little schedule until the first Clermont and I'm trying to stick to it as best as possible (even though I'm his wife, I don't have priority over his paying customers, so schedules for myself have been hard to come by lately). But that means I have to get up at the crack of dawn to swim in the morning before work tomorrow. I HATE swimming in the morning, and I've been known to shut off my alarm and roll over back to sleep (running in the morning = no problem; swimming in the morning = bleaaugh). I figured that writing it down here on my little website might keep me honest. I'll let you know who wins out - the comfy bed or the uninviting cold pool.

June 5 - I've gotten some pretty decent training in this past week. I'm starting to feel a little better about my fitness. At least I know I shouldn't embarrass myself too much in two weeks. This morning I rode 50 miles with a very fit Kimberly Leerssen, who moved down to Clermont earlier in the year. Look for her name at the top of Ironman events in the next couple of years. I also did a very painful run off the bike. Gotta get those in.

This evening we'll be going to the wedding of our friends, Jamie Cannon and Saidel Perez. Jamie works with me and makes those long days bearable. We've both been addicted to The Knot for the past couple of months. They'll be going on a week long cruise to Alaska for their honeymoon. Hopefully, they don't get sick.

May 30 - Once again, Amy Bonnet-Eymard pulled my lame-o body around Windermere and Clermont for a solid 50 mile ride. For someone who doesn't like hills, she sure is strong. I also plodded through a long run yesterday and got in a farlek during mid-week. I just wanted to get all those under me so I can move on. It can only get better! At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I had originally planned on the doing the new sprint triathlon in Dunedin this next weekend. After assessing my fitness, I realized it would definitely be in my best interest to sit that one out and keep training. My new plan consists of racing age-group at the first Clermont. From there, I don't know. Any suggestions?

May 25 - Today is my 25th birthday. I was having some issues with turning 25, but I've gotten over them now. People have told me that it was poor planning on my part to have my wedding (and future anniversaries) right around the same time as my birthday, in addition to future Mother's Days. I don't think it was poor planning at all, its what I like to call LEVERAGE.

May 23 - Well, we made it back into town tonight. Aspen was awesome! The weather was incredible and the scenery was amazing. I was really feeling jealous of all the people who get to see that everyday out there when all I get to see is endless miles of pavement. Anyways, Mr. and Mrs. Gaal ;) had a great time - we hiked, mountain biked, white water rafted, ran (I mean jogged), read books, and relaxed. It was a wonderful honeymoon.

The wedding itself, I thought, was pretty fun! But I guess I may have a bit of a biased opinion. I hope that everyone who was able to make it had a great time.

May 9 - I've been finishing up some last minute crafts for the wedding this past weekend. Even though I am probably the most uncrafty girl in America, I think this stuff might actually turn out okay. The bad news is that now I have Carpal Tunnel.

I'm leaving for St. Pete on Tuesday evening to tie up some loose ends before the wedding party starts to arrive. I really think its going to be a fun weekend :) I'm so excited for the party on Saturday night! Then Sunday evening Marty and I take off for Aspen for the week. I'll probably take the following Monday off from work to unpack and settle in, which puts me back at work on my birthday. My 25th, no less, which I've been having quite a complex over for sometime now. But that's another entry. So, for now, I'm signing off for the final time as Brianne Harrington. So long, Suckers!

May 2 - I did my first 50 mile bike ride of the year this morning with Marty. He was feeling like taking it easy and apparently, riding with me guaranteed him a pedestrian pace. It was a nice ride, and I like to sit on his wheel when the wind picks up! I realized that I am now in my base training phase which most everyone else was in back in January and February. But we all have to start somewhere.

Apr 25 - St. Anthony's was a real fun race to watch this morning. Althought the waves make it difficult to know who is winning the amateur race, I definitely like this old-style format of having the pros go first, on the same day, with the same course. It was great to see all the familiar faces out there and I'm feeling a bit more motivated for the season. First things first, though, 20 days to go!!

Apr 21 - I had a good ride out in Windermere this evening. Total of 31 miles and at a pretty decent pace. I'm slowly getting back into shape. I'm looking forward to going home this weekend to get some more wedding stuff done, hang out with my mom, and watch St. Anthony's. For you Tampa Bay viewers, my dad is supposed to be on Channel 13's morning news on Friday morning talking about the race with Cam Brown. He'll also be the one barking at you all to get out of transition when it closes Sunday morning.

Apr 19 - Vegas was a whole lot of fun! My sister had been scheming for awhile and I wore all sorts of embarrassing bachelorette paraphernalia and had to complete many questionable tasks. I was a trooper and got almost all of them done. These particular pictures will not be making an appearance on the website.

My training has still been pretty poor. I've realized that it is hard to fit work, school, and wedding planning all in and still expect to train like I'm used to. So be it, you only get married once, and I have my whole life to compete in triathlons. On the other hand, I'm really looking forward to our wedding. I think its going to be a lot fun - and just remember you people planning on doing the Mad Dog race the next morning - there is not to be any leaving of our wedding early!

Apr 15 - A very happy birthday to my sister Shana. She's the one coordinating my bachelorette party which I leave for tomorrow. Its my turn in Sin City ;)

Apr 11 - I got a lot done this weekend while Marty was away. I rode in the hills of Clermont on Saturday also completing my very first brick of the year. It wasn't so bad, but boy is it getting hot here or what?! I went out with some co-workers on Saturday night and then had a nice Easter Brunch this morning. I spoke to Marty several times while he was gone. When I asked what they did Friday night he said, "Oh, we played some cards then went to bed." And when I asked what they were going to do Saturday night he said, "Oh, probably just play some cards and then go to bed." Something tells me they did a little more then sit in the casino playing cards all night ;) Especially when there was someone there with the last name of Duckett and the first name of Paul!

Apr 8 - Marty leaves for Las Vegas tomorrow to celebrate his bachelor party. A bunch of his buddies are meeting him out there and I know they're going to have a great time. A lot of people have said to me, "I can't believe you're letting him go out there!" But what would that say about our relationship if I didn't let him go? So I say, "Go! Have fun!" (Besides, I'm going there next weekend, heh heh heh).

I have plenty of stuff to keep me busy this weekend while he's away. First, it looks like a tornado ripped through our condo. And second, I have my final test in my class this semester on Monday, so its actually a good thing that Marty won't be here to distract me. I'm heading over to the Radkewich's for some Easter brunch on Sunday and rumor has it their famous chocolate chip cookies will be making an appearance.

Apr 4 - Amy Bonnet-Eymard pulled me around Windermere and Clermont this morning for a 41 mile bike ride. It was a great day, albeit a little windy. Marty and I went for a real easy swim in the afternoon in my favorite type of water - WARM. You gotta love the YMCA.

Apr 3 - We got some good easy training in today. We ran the 10 mile hilly loop out in Clermont and then rode an easy 20 on the West Orange Trail. To reward me, Marty took me to Steak n Shake afterwards so I could indulge in a chocolate malt. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Mar 28 - I had a pretty action packed weekend. On Friday I went home and got some more wedding 'stuff' done. There sure is a lot of 'stuff' to do - Thank god for Mom! Saturday was still more stuff and then I went and got spray tanned . I took a shower before they recommended, but I was afraid of turning orange. I'm pleasantly surprised about the results and will probably do it before the wedding. I really try to practice safe sun nowadays, although I know growing up in Florida, most damage has already been done.

Onto Saturday night where Marty and I headed over to Ormond Beach to hang out with some of his college buddies before we finally hit the sack at about midnight. We got up bright and early to get to the Winona Classic Triathlon where Marty took 2nd overall to Donna Skaggs husband . We finally made it back to O-town and took a nap and then met Ken Mantei for a nice dinner. Ken's from Michigan and beat all the Florida boys in the 30-34 age group this morning at Winona.

Some relaxing weekend! I'm going to bed!

Mar 25 - In reference to Marty's March 25th update - I am so far off of MY game that I will be residing on the sidelines this weekend. I'll be bringing my pom-poms and cheering my triathaloner fiance on! GO TEAM!!!!

(For the record, people, I was never really a cheerleader. I can feel my parents shuddering at the thought.)

Mar 23 - We got back into town this morning from skiing all weekend in Whistler. We both are back in one piece, just a little sore from using muscles we aren't used to using, but what a fun weekend! The weather was absolutely perfect - clear and cool (not cold at all). Pictures coming soon!

Mar 16 - Marty and I are flying out to Seattle on Thursday evening. We'll be meeting up with my sister, Shana, and my dad, and we're all going to Whistler to go skiing for the weekend. I am so excited to go out there! I haven't been skiing for 6 years and I can't wait to get back on the slopes. Its going to be a whirlwind weekend with the two of us taking the red-eye out on Sunday night to get back here on Monday morning. I'm still going to take Monday off of work, but Marty will be going in so he can bring me home the bacon!

Mar 13 - I finished the Track Series today completing the Winter Park 10K. My time was pretty depressing, but I ended up 4th overall in the series and received some nice prizes from the great folks at Track Shack. My running season is officially over and I'm going to start incorporating some swims and bikes to build my base up for the summer tri season. Tonight we'll be heading downtown to watch the Festival of Speed .

Mar 12 - I just beat Marty in Trivial Pursuit!

Mar 8 - Whew! What a weekend! Met with the florist, got my final dress fitting, had a bridal shower (Thanks everyone! Hope you had fun!), it was go-go-go all weekend. Too top it off, I've been having trouble sleeping at night. You'd think I'd just drop dead on my pillow but my stupid mind starts racing and no matter what I do I can't shut it off. Its getting to be quite a problem, actually. Anyone got any ideas?

On a lighter note, Marty and I just got back from the Bare Naked Ladies concert. They are one of our favorite bands and they put on a fantastic show. This is the second time I've seen them and I have to say they are one of the best concerts I've ever seen. If they ever come near you go see them! You won't be disappointed (and they have pretty good music to boot).

Mar 4 - Marty came home tonight with 16 long-stem red roses. No occasion or anything, isn't he a sweetie?

Mar 1 - I'm looking forward to my bridal shower on Sunday. Grandma has volunteered her house and I think it will be a lot fun. Thanks to all you guys in advance for driving down there!

Feb 29 - Marty and I ran in the Track Shack Series #7 Run Around the Pines 5k this morning. It was another great morning to run, and I managed to scrape off a few seconds from my previous 5k at Park Ave. I came in 4th overall with a chip time of 18:48. I definitely took it out a little too hard, but I wanted to try to make a go at it from the beginning. The final race of the series is in 2 weeks - a 10k in Winter Park. Marty had a real good race for really not running much at all. He negative split each mile, and just to keep things balanced, I positive split each mile. I need to work on that!

Feb 24 - Marty and I subscribe to Newsweek. Its a pretty good magazine that keeps me up to date on politics and economics and everything in between and beyond. Last year they had a little blip about the Compact Disc Minimum Advertised <\a>. Price Antitrust Litigation. So I went ahead and signed on to get my claim. Lo and behold, I received my check yesterday in the mail for $13.86. Sweet.

Feb 21 - We had a great time chalking up the street and cheering for everyone this afternoon at the Outback 12K. I think I'll be a professional chalk marker and cheerleader from now on. Much easier than racing! :)

Feb 15 - I just found out that there is parially hydrogenated coconut oil in Gatorade.

Feb 12 - I admit it, I'm addicted to "The Apprentice." Even Marty, who hates all things 'reality tv,' seems to enjoy it. I think its because its like a huge MBA curriculum. I also like the fact that its not on super late like those MTV ones that Marty hates for me to watch.

Marty has been relieved of his Valentine's Day Duty since he just bought me a very nice wedding band (I also dropped a load on his!). Thankfully, I just found out the tax man was good to me and I'll be receiving a nice surprise soon. However, like my Tax I teacher always told us: "Its actually not good to get a lot of money back from your tax return because that means the government has had your money the entire time and now they're giving it back to you without any interest!" Still, its nice to get a little something-something you weren't expecting.

Feb 5 - We just got the latest Inside Triathlon magazine in the mail today. Please turn to page 71 and read about over-distance training written by my very own Marty Gaal!

Feb 1 - Don't waste your money on the movie The Big Bounce. Can I have those 2 hours of my life back? By the way, don't believe a word of what my lovely fiance says about his wedding band. I happen to know he has his eye stuck on a two tone platinum and 18 ct gold ring.

Jan 27 - Sweet! We got our very first wedding present in the mail! Thanks Michigan Outlaws (especially Ken Mantei).

Jan 25 - Ran real slow today at the Lady Track Shack. Not quite sure why - I felt like I was pushing it I just wasn't going anywhere! Still finished 3rd overall in a field of 1252. Back to the grind tomorrow :(

Jan 24 - Finished up our registry at Crate and Barrel last night. Boy, they have some nice stuff. So we're registered at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Crate and Barrel for all you who are interested :)

My sister, Shana, flew into town again from Seattle yesterday morning. She has a continuing education class for physical therapy. Unfortunately, she just went under the knife on Tuesday (then plastic surgery on Wednesday) for some basil cell skin cancer on the side of her face near her eye, so she wasn't feeling so well last night. She's only 27, but being the blue-eyed blonde growing up in Florida, swimming at an outdoor pool her entire life, its not such a surprise. But, please, people! Get yourself checked out! This type of skin cancer is the most treatable but you still need to be aware.

The original plan a few months ago had Marty running in the Hops Marathon tomorrow morning in Tampa. I was going to run the Gasparilla 5k for the first time in my life this morning. My dad wouldn't let me run in it when I was younger because he was afraid I would get trampled. Once I got into high school we were in the meat of our basketball season so running was the last thing on my mind. I was looking forward to the race, but since Marty got hurt and scrapped the marathon idea I decided to also stay in town and do a very neat run right here in Orlando tomorrow morning. Lady Track Shack is an all women's 5k that supports the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute Fund for women and girls with cancer. They'll get over 1000 women for this run. Although Marty didn't watch me run last weekend, he said he would definitely come to this one. I wonder why....

Jan 17 - Yahoo! Under the 19:00 barrier today at the Seasons 52 Park Avenue 5K (18:53 - even had some breathing room). We had a good showing from the Y running club on a perfect day to run. Now its time to relax before Marty and I head out to register for wedding gifts. Like most girls, I'm pretty excited about this, however, I don't think Marty shares my enthusiasm. I think he'll have more fun then he realizes.

Jan 15 - Can someone explain to me why we are still using a century old internal combustion engine that is fuel inefficient, pollutes our environment, and forces consumers to spend mucho bucks on a finite natural resource when, at the same time, we can land an unmanned robotic rover on Mars?

I know, I know, its called Big Oil, but it still bugs me.

Jan 13 - Shana did really good in the Disney half-marathon. She runs 3 times a week and her long run only got up to 1:15, but she finished the race easily and also beat my dad's half-marathon time from the week earlier (which, truthfully, was her whole goal - sorry Dad!) My mom and I got up at 3:30 am with her and cheered her on in the freezing cold. I'm still puzzled as to why people go crazy over that race. There are quite a few other half and full marathons that are nice, and they don't make you get to your starting corral at 4:30 in the morning. Just my opinion, but I'm also a little jaded with the mouse after living in Orlando for almost 6 years now.

I was at the mall yesterday with my sister and bought some clothes at Express. The employee asked me for my phone number and when I asked what it was for, she said 'demographic studies.' Likely story. If they really wanted to study the demographics of their shoppers, couldn't they ask for my zip code? Oh wait, you can't sell a zip code! I always give my old disconnected phone number in cases like these. I learned my lesson from Sports Authority where they convinced me that if I gave them my phone number they would call me when they had sales and specials. Not once did I get a call from them telling me when they were having a sale, but I did get lots of solicitors calling me after that. Funny.

Jan 7 - I'm looking forward to my sister Shana coming into town this weekend. She's running the Disney Half-Marathon on Sunday, and I'll think she'll welcome our nice Florida weather after she's been getting dumped on over in Seattle.

Well, its official, my bachelorette party is in Vegas! Marty's friends had decided to do his bachelor party there awhile ago, and when my sister found out she said, "We can do your bachelorette party there if we want to, also!" And of course, you get a group of girls together and plans develop rather quickly. Marty's friends are not quite so organized so we're not even sure that he'll be going. So yes, we did steal their plan, but they could still get their act together and get out there, too. Even if it was the same weekend, I doubt we would even see each other. And I gotta say a big "THANKS!" to my future sister-in-law, Anna, who bought my ticket as my Christmas gift. She rocks.

Jan 4 - Well, I haven't updated this in quite awhile. Marty and I had a nice relaxing Christmas down in St. Pete then we headed up to St. Augustine to stay at a neat little Bed & Breakfast. I've always liked history and it was really cool to walk around downtown and see all the old sites. We even took a ghost tour our last night ("The Trolley of the Doomed").

Once we got back to Orlando, we did quite a bit of home improvement. I'm happy to report that our condo is starting to transform from a frat-boy-bachelor-pad to an adult living area. Not too much, though, so don't worry :) Today is our last day of vacation and we both head back to work and school tomorrow. Sigh.

On the workout front, I was starting to feel a bit burnt out with my running, so I took it pretty easy for the past 2 weeks. I haven't done a track workout in almost a month, and just went for little runs when I felt like it. I'm starting to feel much better again and did a long run this morning with some fartleks thrown in. I managed to doggie paddle in the pool twice in the past 2 weeks, and got on the old bike 3 times. Since I'm not planning on doing any triathlons until after our wedding, I'm not going to try to kill myself with volume at this point. Mondays are now going to be my official day off each week since its just too hard to work a 9 hour day and then drive 45 minutes to UCF and sit in class for 3 hours, AND THEN try to do a workout.