Bri Gaal - 2005 Blog

Dec 29 - We went over to Anna & Tim's last night for post-Christmas dinner. She made lasagna, garlic bread, and salad and it was delicious. My family also does lasagna on Christmas dinner and I definitely don't mind getting it twice in a week. I never understand why people cook a turkey dinner on Christmas when we all just had one a month earlier (and I personally don't even think turkey is that yummy). Anyways, Anna, Tim, and my good friend Katy got me such a nice Christmas GIFT. Every girl needs one! In other news, we're slowly packing up the condo. I made some good progress yesterday, but still have a long way to go. We leave this next Wednesday...time sure does fly.

Dec 28 - I got a Z-pack yesterday morning and I'm feeling human again. Thank god for drugs.

Dec 26 - We're back from St. Pete for the holidays. The whole family was in town and we had a lot of fun together. My youngest niece was sick and I may have caught something from her since I am now sick. It sucks - I'm achey, tired, and have a sore throat. I hope it gets out of my system quick - I wasn't even able to workout today! Anyways, HERE'S a cute picture of Marty and me with the two cuties Haileigh and Ashleigh. We're also known as 'the pink people' in some circles.

Dec 22 - Today was my last day of work at Lockheed. I will definitely miss a lot of people over there and hope that I'm able to keep in touch with many of them. For the next year or so, Marty is now officially my sugar-daddy!

Dec 20 - Two of my friends from college, Stephanie and Mike were in town and we were able to meet up and get dinner the other night. It was so great to catch up with them. I love seeing my old friends, but when they leave it really makes me realize how much I miss them. They were also enamored with the infamous goldfish. I finally took pictures of him so you all could see. Here's one view. And here's another. He can't help it.

Dec 19 - I custom ordered some fleece and PolarTec hats with One Step Beyond embroidered on the front and the website on the back. They came out great! Ericka Olsen is the maker of them and she has a great site called tribabe. I also bought a cute polka-dotted hat with a flower for my youngest niece and something else for somebody I can't talk about because she may be reading this. Anyways, the products are affordable and Ericka is really nice to work with. HERE we are modeling our new hats.

Dec 17 - I ran in the NTC cross country relay this morning out in Clermont. My team was stacked with superfast girls and it was a lot of fun. The course was pretty tough, but it was a really neat event. And, I spoke too soon on our fish unfortunately. He is back to his old pooping ways. Ah well.

Dec 13 - Marty loves fish and we have two fish tanks in our condo right now (down from four at one point). The one in our living room is a 55 gallon pretty tank with colorful fish and live plants. The 30 gallon tank in our bedroom has a mean fish that eats other fish, so he is in isolation. Occasionally, Marty will get feeder guppies, or small goldfish to feed to the mean guy. Quite awhile ago there was one goldfish that managed to stay alive in the mean guy's tank for several days so Marty decided to rescue him and put him in the nice tank. This could be the end of the story, but that wouldn't be interesting at all, would it? See, this particular goldfish has had a "bowel problem" for months now. (Warning: graphic material ahead) This fish would literally have a huge long poop hanging out of him all the time! It would be several inches long and he would just swim around, getting caught in the plants and hitting other fish with it. When it would finally fall off, another would start right behind it! So we always had this goldfish swimming around with long logs hanging out of him. It was pretty funny and definitely an interesting conversation starter. The other day I saw him swimming around and he had a long PINK log hanging out of him. I thought for sure it was his final day and we were soon going to be flushing this guy away. I'm not sure what that was all about, but for the past two days, he has been swimming around with nothing coming out of him. Its amazing. I can't even remember him like this, but now he looks like a normal goldfish now. Watch him die soon...

Dec 12 - This weekend flew by! We had a successful swim clinic out at the National Training Center. Marty did a great job explaining his Powerstroke concept and Marc Bonnet-Eymard assisted with drills. That night was 'Homecoming.' Yes, just like you remember from high school. I even wore my Senior prom dress, which fit fine and turned out to be not so out of style. Marty and I were crowned King and Queen which was pretty fun! I'm really feeling like I need to get back on the ball with training. I rode the trainer for a short time on Sunday morning and was sore after which is totally pathetic. I also need to start swimming more than 1500 twice a week. If only I could get my coach to write me a schedule... I don't want to be horribly out of shape when we're racing in Australia!

Dec 9 - Check these pictures out! I close out the year as the fastest Gaal.

Dec 8 - Our track workout last night was a good one. It was pretty windy out but I felt surprisingly strong. I'm looking forward to the cross country meet out in Clermont on the 17th. Its teams of 5, where we each run 2.5K twice in a relay format. I'm on an all girls team and it should be a lot of fun. Has anyone been watching the Martha Stewart Apprentice? (I know its a ratings flop) My girl, Dawna Stone, is one of the final 3 candidates. Dawna, as you might know, is the publisher of Her Sports magazine. I was on their triathlon team this past year, and will be on it once again this next year. They are very good to us with all the gear and goodies they secure from sponsors. Here is a bad picture of me in my bio.

Dec 3 - Marty and I had a rematch this morning at the OUC 5K. I had 10 seconds on him at the 2 mile mark, but then he put in a strong 1/2 mile and caught me with about a 1/2 mile to go. He put about 5 seconds on me but with 100 yards left I unleashed a vicious kick (as vicious as possible in the off-season when you're getting back into shape) and I was able to get by him and hold him off for the Gaal Victory and the overall female victory. I've finished 2nd at this particular race the other three times I've done it so it was nice win it this year. We then went to the first half of the UCF football game, which was pretty exciting with such a big crowd. Unfortunately, Tulsa played a better game (can someone explain to me why University of Tulsa's mascot is the Golden Hurricane?). Tonight we're going to the very popular Wine & Cheese party that Carey Kosson is hosting.

Dec 2 - Marty and I were vaccinated for our trip next year. Orlando Regional Medical Center has an awesome traveler's agency that was extremely helpful. They gave us a comprehensive consultation about not only what to expect as far as our health goes, but also what to expect generally in the different countries. The nurse was great; very informative with a great personality. I got 3 shots (Tetanus, Hep A, and Typhoid) and Marty got 5 (he had to get Hep B and flu, which I already had gotten). They also gave us prescriptions for malaria and "traveler's diarrhea." Finished off the work week with relatively small battle wounds. I still have 3 more weeks left, and people have shown their true colors. I'd say 90% are very happy for us, but definitely my upper management have revealed what they're really about in how they've treated me since I've told them. And the revelation is, I wouldn't want to work for them now that I know how they really are.

Nov 28 - Today was D-Day for me. A lot of you who read this site have known about our plans for next year, but I never talked about it on here because I hadnít put in my resignation at work. I had decided to tell my boss the Monday after Thanksgiving, giving them 4 weeks notice (much more than I was required). But I thought this was a good amount of time Ė my boss and my coworkers have been very good to me these past 4 years and I was pretty nervous about letting the cat out of the bag.

Anyways, my anxiety was pretty high this morning. A lot of people couldn't understand why, but I've always been very concerned with people being mad at me, upset with me, etc. I guess I've always been more of the people-pleaser - someone who hates to the rock the boat. We even had a personality assessment at work a few months ago and this is exactly how I came out. So I talked to my boss, and I can honestly say I don't think he was thrilled with me resigning. Most who find out think its awesome. Marty and I tend to think so, too! So on January 4th we will be embarking on a quasi-world tour. We'll be heading to Hong Kong for 4 days, then onto the Philippines where we'll visit Marty's dad and stepmom, and then to Australia where we're planning on setting up camp for 4-5 months. We'll take side trips to Tasmania and New Zealand, and we'll be back over stateside in the summer. We're going to get to Europe in the fall and then probably make our way up to Raleigh where we're thinking of moving next. A huge adventure awaits!

Nov 24 - Of course, Marty won't shut up about beating me by less than 100 yds. I'm glad he's such a gracious winner! At least I can say I was top ten...what was he? Top 81? Seriously, I was happy with my race this morning. Dropped time from the last 5K and felt fine. I don't quite have the turnover yet, but with what I've been doing, I'm ecstatic. And Happy Belated birthday to my mom (Nov 21). No, I didn't forget it, but I didn't put it up on the website and didn't want her to feel left out.

Nov 19 - It always comes back to this for me after I've taken a break. The only thing I want to do is run. Its what I've always loved. Since its the off-season, I have a hard time motivating myself to get into the pool or on the bike. I always just want to run. Its easy - you put on your shoes and you're out the door. 30 minutes later, an hour later, whatever, you are back, refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. Biking and swimming just take so much more time and just aren't as enjoyable to me. So that's what I'm doing right now - running. I've done some of our club's track workouts and have been feeling all right. But I'm not even concerned with how fast I run, I just like it, plain and simple. And everyday I think, "Maybe tomorrow I'll get on my bike" or "I should go for an easy swim". Inevitably, I end up with my running shoes on and I'm out the door once again.

Nov 15 - Happy Birthday to my sister, Heather, today, and to Donna (Marty's mama) tomorrow!

Nov 13 - I got Marty an i-Pod Nano for his birthday (although its really ours to share, so I guess you could say I also bought myself a gift for his birthday). Its awesome! We're a little behind the times it seems as a lot of people have had mp3 players for awhile, but we're finally catching up.

Nov 11 - We've got a fun weekend ahead of us. Tonight is happy hour downtown with our running club, tomorrow we'll watch the Ironman on TV, and then we'll head to the beerfest with friends. Sunday will be recuperation.

Nov 8 - Happy Birthday, Marty!

Nov 6 - I just got back from a nice weekend down in St. Pete. I got the unfortunate news from the corneal specialist that it would be pretty risky to get lasik at this point. He said this latest infection still seems to have at least some presence and that my body has been treating my cornea as a foreign object. I don't quite know why this is happening, but I wish my body would get with the program and stop it! I was definitely disappointed when he told I couldn't get the procedure done, but there is no way I'm going to jeopardize my eyesight and go ahead with it. Friday night my mom drove me to Ybor City in Tampa so I could do Richard's Run for a Cure. Richard Gonzmart is one of the most generous persons you could ever meet. All proceeds from his run went straight to the Moffet Cancer Center for research in finding a cure. With over 1000 registered runners once again, it was a great night for the fight against cancer. On to the race - my mom and I left with what we thought would be plenty of time, but with an accident on the Howard Franklin bridge in addition to normal rush hour, we were cutting it real close. We decided to get off of the interstate and drive through downtown Tampa to get there. The only problem was that my mom didn't exactly know how to get there through town (and I wasn't any help). A dead end and many wrong turns later, I was at the park at approximately 6:27 (for the 6:30 start) and in the mass of humanity with about 1 minute to go. No warm-up, no bathroom! I had thought I would warmup the first mile, but it didn't happen. I ended up 6th overall with a 20:06 which I was frankly very surprised about with just 2 track workouts under my belt. The sad part is that my age is finally starting to show - I woke up the next morning and my knee was very sore and a bit swollen. Apparently, I just can't do a 5K race without a proper warmup anymore. I've never had any knee problems, but I think I'm going to be okay. It feels pretty stiff today, but the fact that I can walk on it has to mean its not that bad. Going to take a few days off just to be sure. The rest of the weekend was fun - did a little shopping with my mom, went to the beautiful wedding of Erin Fogle and Travis Phelps, and celebrated grandma's birthday.

Nov 2 - Nothing much to report. Working, running a little, cleaning the condo, etc, etc, etc. Going down to St. Pete on Friday for a follow-up session with the corneal specialist (hoping he tells me I'm okay to get lasik), and then running (and I use that term very loosely) in Richard's Run. Saturday night is a wedding, and in between it will be nice spending time with my family. I will be Marty-less as he will be in Phoenix all weekend. Bummer.

Oct 30 - My Hawaii novel is up. Read only if you have a lot of time on your hands.

Oct 26 - Good to be back out at the track tonight. I'm pretty slow right now, but the weather made it better than I thought it was going to be.

Oct 24 - We got the day off of work because of Hurricane Wilma. This was a total blessing in disguise for me as I seemed to have caught a little bug on the plane ride home and have been feeling a bit under the weather. I feel all right today, just congested, but my stomach isn't as nauseous. Had a pretty nice weekend, although I wish the volunteering debacle wouldn't have happened out in Clermont on Saturday. I honestly haven't dealt with a human who was so unprofessional, disrespectful, irate and illogical all at once - and to have it be a USAT official was astounding. After leading the male runner around the lake I stood at one of the last turns to direct the runners towards the finish line. I wasn't planning on this but no one was there and almost every one who went by at the front was asking where to go (I guess the big arrow doesn't help when you're at 12.9 of a 13.1 mile run). The races were really hurting in the volunteer area. They also had to adjust the bike course recently and this made for quite a dangerous run (in my opinion) for the front runners of the half ironman - these runners had bikes and cars coming right at them. I hope everyone who raced still managed to have a good experience.

Oct 20 - We made it back to Orlando safe and sound. We had a lot of time to kill yesterday before our 10 pm flight so we snorkeled some more down by 'The Place of Refuge.' Right off the bat we're swimming with a turtle! It was awesome. We went to the movies and then had dinner before we sat in the open air Kona airport. I managed to sleep most of the way from Kona to LA, but our flight from LA to Orlando was filled with screaming kids and smelly diapers. How do you change a diaper on an airplane anyways? I did finally get to see The March of the Penguins, though. I'm hoping to feel inspired and write a lengthy race/trip report this weekend. I don't know who will actually read it but it would be good for me to document it all. Watching the race was pretty awesome and very inspiring. It was HOT that afternoon (even the locals commented on it being much hotter than normal). It was great to be up close and personal to not only the pros, but all the age groupers out there putting out a lot of effort. However, it was not so awe-inspiring that it made me want to do it - yet. And as Marty mentioned in one of his posts, I was very very excited to meet and talk to Sarah Reinersten. This weekend Marty and I will be out the GFT cheering all of our friends on - I like this cheering stuff.

Oct 14 - Marty and I were still up at 5 am this morning (the time change is hard to get used to!) Itís all good since we have to get up early tomorrow morning. We learned today that most restaurants and eateries in the immediate area have reduced their menus and doubled their prices since just one or two days ago. What a rip off. We also learned that the bike and run go right in front of the condo complex weíre staying at Ė sweet! This morning we went on a timeshare tour because it got us a great discount card and $60 which we used toward our snorkel trip on Tuesday. I know, we are very cheap. I also just ran into Steve Meckfessel while trying to find Marty some additional gels. Steve gave me a VIP pass which means I can get on the Pier for the swim start and get into all the hospitality areas with the free food tomorrow. Thanks, Steve!! (and congratulations to him and his wife for having another baby last week) Iím also hoping this pass will get me into the finish chute because I really want to put the lei on Marty when he crosses the line. Thanks to everyone who has sent us a good word over the past couple of days. Marty will be feeding off of all that positive energy tomorrow as he races through the lava fields. I canít wait to see it all!

Oct 12 - Aloha! Marty and I are sitting by the pool of our condo enjoying some wireless internet. Our condo is a 5 minute walk from the Pier here in Kona, so its very convenient with all the activity. We swam this morning in the bay and it was amazing! The water was so clear and you could see colorful fish and coral everywhere. We're still adjusting to the time difference (asleep at 7:45 last night, up at 4:15 am). Just want to tell everyone at home that we're not coming home, so see you all soon! Just kidding.

Oct 10 - We're off to Kona tomorrow! I can't wait to get out there and see what its all about. I also can't wait to cheer my wonderful hubby on in one of the most prestigious races in the world. Please send all positive energy to Marty on Saturday - he goes off at 7 am Hawaii time (so whatever time that would be wherever you are).

Oct 9 - Wow, great wedding last night! It was beautiful and the reception was a blast. Afterwards, all the hardcore people continued the party at Hard Rock. Marty and I were very tired this morning, which is understandable, and ended up being pretty lazy all day. I did get a jog in this evening, at least. My eye gets a tiny bit better each day, but each morning when I wake up it is still extremely swollen. The swelling goes down as the day goes on, but the eye itself stays pink. I don't know what type of allergy this is, and I have no idea why its taking this long to get better. In other headline news, a huge congratulations to Marc Bonnet-Eymard out in Honolulu this weekend. Marc is now the mens 30-34 year old age group world champion (and 2nd overall) for short course triathlon. This comes as no surprise to those of us who know Marc, but we are all very happy he went out there and kicked major butt. I'd also like to congratulate his beautiful wife, Amy. Amy puts in all the behind the scenes work that helps Marc kick everyone's butt. Plus, she's very cool. And hot ;)

Oct 7 - I won't bore you with the details of my latest eye problem. Just that I've had some sort of allergic reaction to something (possibly cat dander) and I have the reddest, most swollen eye. Its gotten marginally better over the past 2 days, which is good because I don't want to be forever captured in Anna's wedding album with this thing!

Oct 2 - Well, I'm feeling pretty good. I took a little down time and don't feel burnt out at all. I've been running a bit, and have surprised myself by getting back into a decent pace pretty quick. I also did the GFT half bike course on Saturday - and this was with getting my bike back from the bike shop on Friday night. I hadn't ridden it since the Duke half! I was sure it was going to be a pure sufferfest, but I felt all right. Even made it up Sugarloaf okay. We had a great time out at happy hour on Friday night with our running club, and then hung out again with friends on Saturday night. Next on tap is Anna's wedding this coming Saturday. The festivities start with the rehearsal dinner at the Portofino Bay Hotel followed by some fun at CityWalk. I'm really looking forward to the wedding - it should be a really good time.

Sep 28 - Not much to report over on this side either. I'm really looking forward to getting out to Hawaii. I'm also looking forward to not working for almost 2 weeks while we're gone! When we come back, I'll have negative vacation. Totally worth it, though.

Sep 25 - Anne and Brad are in Daytona for a few days, so I was able to drive over there and hang out with them all day yesterday. It was so great to see Anne - I think Brad got a little annoyed by our constant jabbering, especially as he was trying to watch football. But we had a lot of catching up to do! This morning I rode my mountain bike about 18 miles, as my tri bike is still not put all the way back together. I then finished painting our porch and spent too much money on prescription sunglasses. I didn't really want to buy them since I will hopefully be getting lasik in a couple of months, but I don't think I can go that long without sunglasses. Especially in Hawaii. I definitely want to be able to see everything clearly in the blazing sun out there. Congrats to all the runners and triathletes this weekend - my bed sure is comfy as all you guys are out there toiling in the heat. Hee hee.

Sep 23 - Marty and I made a quick trip down to St. Pete. I went to see a corneal specialist down there who was referred to me from an opthamologist who my parents have known for years. Small world - as it turned out, the corneal specialist was a friend and fraternity brother of Marc B-E! Dr. Mendelblatt was great - got to the root of my problem, explained what was going on, and gave ideas on how to get my eyes better. Basically, contacts will create micro-abrasions on the eye. My eyes are producing an abnormal amount of oil right now. This, coupled with bacteria that resides in the eye (and all over the body) are creating the marginal corneal ulcers. Dr. M said I actually have a ring of healed ulcers around both eyes - this was mildly alarming to me. Anyways, I'm on an oral antibiotic that will help reduce the amount of oil produced, as well as a steroid drop (don't worry, its not performance enhancing!). I'll continue this routine until I see him again in a little over a month when hopefully things will look much better. We'll then talk about Lasik eye surgery which seems to be the best thing to do in the future so I don't have chronic problems. I'm sure you are all thrilled to be up to date on my eye problems.

Sep 18 - I've been taking an active rest week and its been great. My mountain bike was dusted off and I've been riding along with Marty while he runs. I also rode to the Downtown Orlando Triathlon and cheered everyone on. It looks like a very fun race, and it was great to see Carey win overall. I think I may attempt a run this week - I wanted to make sure I gave my quad ample time to heal up before I did anything stupid. And we just got done watching The Family Guy, which has to be one of the most bizarre, and funniest, shows on tv right now.

Sep 14 - My Duke race report is up.

Sep 14 - Our condo is in a state of extreme messiness right now. After getting in very early on Monday morning and heading right to work, the last thing I've wanted to do is clean everything up. Consequently, my race bag did not make it into the wash until tonight - I know, its gross. Anyways, after the race, I changed clothes and put all my sweaty clothes into a plastic bag which I tied shut very tightly. Upon opening it tonight, I expected to be blasted in the face with the worst smelling sweat ever. To my surprise, I wasn't. Curiosity got the better of me so I stuck my nose into the dirty clothes - and was overcome by the very strong smell of ammonia. I made Marty smell my clothes, too, and like a good husband, he did. The smell of ammonia comes about after your body has used up your carbohydrates and is now burning your protein (or something like that). This is not exactly a good thing. It also breaks down your muscles quite a bit, which might explain my leg problem? I don't know, I'm no doctor so I'm kind of reaching for some explanations. I know that I've had to be careful in the past because I will often get that ammonia smell after working out, so I try to eat a lot of carbs. I thought I had enough in me for the race, but apparently I didn't.

Sep 12 - We made it back safe and sound from NC this morning. I'll probably write a race report later on, but it went prety well. I felt strong on the swim - it was very rough out there, and we think long again. I've done enough ocean swims not to mind swells and rough conditions, but I think a lot of other competitors were a little freaked out about it. I felt great on the bike! I was actually passing tons of people and I just felt really solid. The last 10-15 miles had a very stong headwind and that was very tough. Even with the wind (from that hurricane sitting off shore) I was something like 8 minutes faster than last year. I think if the conditions had been like last year I would've gone much faster. I got to the run and tried to be very conservative. I felt fine, was just plugging away, but I guess that course is just way too hilly for my weak right quad. It was very, very painful toward the end. I wasn't even breathing hard, so I know its not that I can't handle the distance, just those hills did me in. Aww, well. Still went faster than last year and I think I was 7th overall which is also an improvement. Thanks to Bill and Shana for putting us up out there!

Sep 9 - We leave tonight for Raleigh, NC to race in the Duke 1/2 Ironman on Sunday. I feel pretty good about the training that I've put in, but I've never been known as a long distance racer. I think it'll be fun and we're looking forward to some cooler temperatures up there. Wish us luck!

Sep 6 - Well, I seem to be sporting another corneal ulcer. My doctor was stumped as to why I got another one. I take care of my contacts with great detail. I have never slept in them and always throw them away when I'm supposed to. These ulcers I'm getting aren't from that anyways. Its apparently from staph - something that is present in everyone's eyes, but for some reason my body isn't handling it very well right now - causing the ulcers. These type won't affect my vision, but its not something you really want to be dealing with over and over. We talked about some possible causes, one being my training. I know that when you are training quite a bit your immune system can get pretty low. He asked if after my half ironman would I continue training? Of course! was my response. I would obviously take a break, but I had no intentions of curbing my addiction to triathlon. Another cause might be that my eyes need more oxygen, so he gave me some new contacts to try out that would allow for more breathability. I'm not going to try them for several weeks, though, until my eyes are all healed up again. The only other thing that is worrying me a bit is that I'm awfully tired. Maybe its my taper? Maybe its my body fighting the ulcer? Maybe I'm getting sick? I just want to do the race this weekend and have a good time!

Sep 5 - I loved waking up this morning and realizing I didn't have to go into work. Marty and I had a nice weekend at home together. We ran over to the Miracle Miles where he ran the 15K and I tempoed (is that a word?) the 5K. So got in about 10 miles total with the jog over and back. We had a nice swim in the afternoon and I painted our new wooden stairs that lead to our condo. Rode Sunday morning and slept in this morning. It felt great. Unfortunately, I'm having more eye issues and will be seeing my optometrist first thing in the morning.

Sep 3 - I just got another message from Anne - Her and Brad evacuated last night and Brad's family picked them up and they are heading back to Iowa (where they are both from). I am so glad to hear this!! The one thing that was reassuring to me was knowing that I was positive both of their families were doing everything possible to get them out of there as soon as they could. Now maybe I'll be able to get some better sleep this week knowing that they are okay.

Sep 2 - I'm getting more and more worried about Anne and Brad. I got another message from her last night that says: "I don't know when we get out. Need help of troops that aren't here." What is going on down there?! Why isn't there a huge convoy going into that city? Why aren't there boats driving up there? Surely our country can do better than this! And I'm already tired of hearing people saying, well, people that are stuck should've left in the first place. Right, a lot of people should have left. And a lot of people had no means of leaving. And many, like Anne, had no choice but to stay and help through and after the storm.

August - (editor: got lost in translation, sorry.)

July 29 - It looks like we found another swimmer for our relay, so I'm back to just doing the bike - that's a relief!

July 28 - 380 miles in 6 days, not bad! We had such a great time on our bike tour in Montana - met some really awesome people and will definitely do another tour again. We finished today with 59 miles in just over 3 hrs. The course had everything, uphills, downhills, headwinds, tailwinds - Marty and I warmed up for about 10 miles or so and then picked it up. We caught up to our friend John and we had a nice paceline all the way into Bozeman. It was a great way to finish up the tour. We went to dinner tonight with another couple we met from Maryland (Jean and Mike) and then had some beers with John afterwards. I love meeting people from all over that have similar interests - and also have so much to offer. And last but not least, a huge congratulations goes out to my very good friend Anne McConville who had a beautiful baby boy on July 25th. We'll call him the Hurricane Katrina baby :)

July 27 - Day 5 of our bike tour and still feeling pretty strong! I'm very happy about this, and its worlds different from how I felt down in Tasmania on our first bike tour (admittedly, I was in very bad shape at the time). Marty's out running but I opted out. I need to find a pool, apparently.

July 26 - I was supposed to do the bike portion of a relay at Steelhead Half-IM. I just found out that our swimmer can't swim and I'll need to do that portion too. I've barely swum since nationals three weeks ago. It should be interesting, if interesting means a whole pile of sucky-suck.

July 25 - I did my longest ride ever yesterday (75 miles) and felt great pretty much the whole way. Marty mentioned how we are some of the last riders to leave on almost every ride but yesterday was very funny. We stayed at the hotel so didn't get the memo about breakfast being at 5:30 so people could get an early start. We got up at 6 and were pretty proud of ourselves - like I said to Marty, this is a vacation and getting up at 6 is over and beyond what should be expected. Anyways, we ride our bikes over to the campground all smug thinking we are hot stuff for being there before 7 only to find a couple of lonely souls putting the finishing touches on their bikes before they head out. We hadn't even had breakfast yet! Was there any breakfast left? And more importantly, was there coffee for Marty? Because there was no way I was going to spend the next several hours of the morning with him if he hadn't gotten coffee in his system. Luckily there were some leftovers from breakfast and the last bit of coffee. We finally shoved off and decided it would be fun to see how many people we could catch - 91 by mile 30 and the lunch break. Most were caught on the big pass we climbed. It made the ride go quick counting off like that. We followed up that ride with a 56 miler today that wasn't quite as tough and then ran about 5 miles off the bike. We are tucked away safe and sound at a Comfort Inn, now that our one day of camping is out of the way :) Tomorrow is another 70 miles - my legs are definitely tired at this point but I'm having a great time out here sitting on Marty's wheel and meeting new people.

July 23 - The first day of our bike tour got off to a great start. We rode 66 miles with a slight elevation gain in between the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountain ranges. It was very scenic, and sitting on Marty's wheel made it much easier. Tomorrow is our longest and possibly hardest day with a lot of climbing (5354 total feet) and mileage. We're also staying in our never-been-opened tent. I wonder how long it will take us to put it together? We're hoping since we'll be up an additional 3,000 feet it will be slightly cooler. The weather is different out here - like I said in my travel blog, when we left at 7:20 in the morning it was actually cool and even 2 hours into our ride, it was in the low 70's and dry (that screams beautiful day to us Floridians). But the afternoon really heats up. While we were tucked away in our air-conditioned motel room, the temperature rose to at least 100 and the sun was scorching. But once the sun goes down it cools way down like it just doesn't in Florida at this time of year. I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.

July 22 - Our bike tour starts tomorrow. Here is a breakdown of the daily mileage:
Sunday - 66.6 miles
Monday - 75 miles
Tuesday - 53.7 miles
Wednesday - 70 miles
Thursday - 60 miles
Friday - 61.8 miles
Total Climbing - 20,557 feet

July 18 - Yesterday we ran along Boulder Creek, which runs through much of the city and has a nice bike path and running trail along it. What a great thing to have in your city. The heat wave has reached Colorado pretty bad, too, but its still not like Florida hot. It gets up there in the afternoon, but without the humidity it is so much more tolerable. When we got done running I wasn't even sweaty. The same run in Orlando would have had my shorts and sports bra completely soaked. Afterwards we soaked our legs in the creek and then packed up for our short drive up to Fort Collins. After touring the New Belgium Brewery we were able to find a pool so we got in a short swim. I actually got in a short swim and Marty did a real workout. We got dinner with some old friends I hadn't seen in forever and then drove on up to Cheyenne, Wyoming. This morning Marty found us an extensive greenway system through Cheyenne so we got in a nice easy ride. It makes me realize how far behind Orlando is on getting some bike trail system together when so many other cities have had them for 15 or more years. I heard recently they were going to finally connect some of the trails they have, so better late than never.

July 16 - Out of 2,304 participants today at the Danskin Denver Womens Triathlon I finished 2nd (and only to a former pro, apparently!) The race was really nice and pretty well run for the amount of athletes. The reservoir was a very nice 69 degrees and my sleeveless Zoot wetsuit felt great. Transitions were very long and I spent a lot of time in T1 when my chip fell off and then gouged my leg with my big chain (ouch). Got the chip put back on by a volunteer before I headed out onto the bike course. I didn't feel great on the bike (it was a bit hilly) but passed 2 girls who I came out of the swim with and then lost time to in my transition debacle. The one girl was an ITU racer from Costa Rica - when I went by her she asked, "Do you draft here?" I said, "No, you're not supposed to" to which she thanked me and then didn't draft, how nice! I felt good on the run but I felt like the altitude held me back a bit from going too fast. The girl who won not so much beat me as stomped all over me, coming in 1:43 ahead. She is fast!

July 15 - We went to pick up my packet today for the Danskin Women's Triathlon tomorrow morning. What an enormous race! The numbers go up to 3,000...

July 14 - Boulder, Colorado is a triathlete's dream. We went for a 2.5hr ride with Dirk Friel who has lived here pretty much his entire life. He took us on a great ride (and he kept us on the 'flats') through the city and then out to its surrounding open spaces. There are bike lanes everywhere and cyclists all over. We also went into town to a bike shop so I could get some extra gears for our upcoming bike tour in Montana. As Marty put it, I want to have a bail-out gear.

July 11 - I'm surprisingly not very tired or sore from the race this past weekend. We went for a run here on a nice dirt path in Colorado Springs and I felt pretty good (at 6,000 feet altitude no less). Our run was cut short by some storms with lots of lightening, though. I'll be racing in the Denver Danskin Womens triathlon this Sunday. I'm looking forward to it, but not so sure how the altitude and lack of speedwork will affect my performance. So I'm just going to have fun and not worry about it.

July 10 - We took the day off from working out yesterday since we were in the car for quite awhile and then arrived in Denver to cold rain. Instead we had a nice dinner at Old Chicago and then went to bed. We are really a couple of retirees - going to bed early and then getting up early. We would've slept in a little longer this morning but someone forgot to change his clock to Mountain time so his alarm went off at 6 instead of 7. We went for a nice run on a little trail we found near our hotel which was very nice. In a little while we're going to head off to a pool a few miles away. Swimmers Guide is the best.

After looking at the results from Nationals - boy am I a slow swimmer! I was 18th out of my age group on the swim, and then passed 12 of those girls ahead of me on the bike. (then passed 2 more on the run). My bike split was 4th in my age group and my run was 3rd. I held back a little on the bike so I didn't totally blow up on the run - not sure if this helped or not since my run felt pretty bad anyways. My splits really show that if you are a strong cyclist and runner, you can still do very well. I'm still going to see if I can get faster on the swim, but time wise it makes more sense to work on the bike and run because that's where you gain most of your time. Hopefully we find a good masters team in NC this winter that will really push me to a higher level in my swimming.

July 9 - The awards ceremony last night was good (even though the announcer Tim Yount mispronounced my name. I guess I should be used to that by now). A ton of people were there; much more than I thought would attend. All in all, I thought it was a really well run race. USAT did a great job. My only complaint would be to have a designated swim warm-up area. You couldn't warm-up after the race got underway so for us later waves, we didn't get one at all. Other than that, the race goodie bag was great, volunteers were awesome, and everything was very smoothly run. Marty and I both had a lot of fun out here with the race.

July 8 - Short Age Group Nationals Report: 2nd in the 25-29 age group, 12th overall. Tough course - hilly, windy, bike was 1/2 mile long and run was 6.3.

Longer version: They started a bit late so my wave went off just after 9 am. Met a nice girl from Wisconsin and we chatted for awhile before we went off. The horn sounded and I tried to dolphin dive out as far as possible but the muck and slick on the bottom made it a bit difficult. I still don't know how to swim a good 1500 and don't know my split yet, but there were a lot of people out ahead of me! I had a pretty quick transition and was out onto the bike course. I got into a good rhythym on the bike and started passing quite a lot of people - maybe 10 or so total from my age group. The bike was rolling hills and pretty windy in certain areas. But I never got out of my big chain and felt pretty good the whole way. I kept it just under that really hard pace because I didn't want to totally blow up on the run. Finished the bike (I think 4th in my age group at this point) and tried to have another quick transition and was off on the run. I didn't feel great when I started but just started plugging away and was still passing quite a few people (that's what happens when you're the last wave to go off). The run was much hillier than I expected and it was tough! It was hot, but not as hot as Florida so it felt pleasant to me :) I just suffered for most of the run and tried to keep telling myself to suck it up and get to the finish line. Even though I was having trouble I still managed to pass 2 more girls in my age-group. I think this tells you how tough it was out there - I felt pretty bad and I was still passing people. It seemed to me like it was a suffer-fest and whoever lasted the longest would finish good. I had a mini conversation with some older man who was wearing a UCF Tri-Knights skinsuit and immediately after I got the worst stitch ever. It lasted until the end and the last 2 hilly miles were brutal. I was able to pick it up a few times here and there but nothing spectacular. My run time was like 43:45 (so about 42:45 for a 10K). I finished and was a little too wobbly so they took me to the medical tent. I ended up just getting some gatorade and felt better. The girl who won our age group I think was the overall winner and did something crazy like 2:13 (I did a 2:20). The 30-34 age group was filled with studs and there were a couple in the 35-39 that also had better times than me, but I'm happy with my result!

July 7 - We just got back from registration and the race site for Age-Group Nationals. Everyone looks extremely fit and fast and they all seem to have the best gear available. Cervelo P3 Carbons with Zipp 909's are a dime a dozen. Aero helmets are everywhere. I sure hope looks are deceiving! We had our own minor crisis - we bought a race wheel off of ebay a few weeks ago. I tested it out in NC and told Marty it looked like there was a slight wobble to it. He spun it and looked and said it wasn't worth worrying about. While warming up on my bike out at the race course I noticed it was really wobbling. Marty put it on his bike and then noticed that the hub was not sealed properly. Its definitely not rideable. He's going to let me use his Cosmic Carbone front wheel tomorrow and he'll use his regular wheels (Neither of us have a back race wheel at the moment). He's very good to me. So we're going to try and beat as many people as we can on pretty normal tri bikes with regular old helmets.

July 4 - I've had a bit of a forced taper since we've been so busy house hunting and I feel like crap. Supposedly this is normal but its not so good for me mentally!

June 30 - We had some good training up in O-town and got to see most of our buddies while we were there. Marty and I did some mile repeats on Tuesday with short rest - he did great and I suffered badly. Wednesday night we went out to the UCF group ride (after spending an hour in the car getting there). For the first time I was able to stick with the boys for almost the entire ride. As Phil Ligget would say, I cracked or popped on the last stretch down Lake Pickett, but being able to stay with the group out to Fort Christmas and back is a very big improvement for me. I used to go out to this ride a couple of years ago and I was lucky to stay on the back for 10 minutes. Its all about covering the attacks - if you can do that it seems like you can sit in pretty good for a lot of the ride. This morning we did a tempo run which we started later than planned and it was very hot (race simulation maybe?). I felt pretty strong and was able to push it pretty hard but now my quads are complaining. I've done more tempo runs this year than I have in the past and I'm hoping they help me mentally in the 10K next weekend. Anyways, as they say, the hay is in the barn. I don't know who says that really, but my friend from Iowa translated it for me a few years ago so maybe Mid-Westerners say it. Marty and I are going to head out to Kansas City and race as hard as we can and be satisfied with whatever happens!

June 26 - We're back in Orlando for a few days and this morning we got up early to go to a Masters practice with Anna at Lake Brantley high school. It was real good and we got in a good amount of yardage that is hard to get by yourself. I'm surprisingly not that sore from the race yesterday which I suppose is a good thing. We're still going to take it relatively easy today and I'm hoping we see some of our friends while we're here.

June 25 - Was 1st Overall woman at the Key Biscayne Trilogy race this morning. Unfortunately, I raced elite which is what I thought would be most competitive but it turns out everyone down there races age group so I ended up basically doing a time trial by myself. Its always more fun to race head to head against people and know where you stand during it. Anyways, brief report: Beach had gray sand and water smelled like poo. Seriously. Elites and men 35-39 started first, which wasn't so fun for me because those men aren't very nice in the water. After breastroking to get around the first buoy I was fine and found some clear water. Long run into transition and then off onto the bike. People seem to have the mentality if they don't get caught drafting then its okay which is really annoying. I saw a guy riding easy and looking behind him. Then 2 minutes later he motored by me with his buddy right on his wheel. Enough complaining - felt kind of stale on the bike and couldn't push as hard as I would've liked to, but I think doing 3 races in 3 weekends might have had something to do with it. Got onto the run and still felt stale, but didn't feel too tired. Just felt like I couldn't get a whole lot of turnover. We stuck around for awards and chatted with some people before the storms started.

June 23 - Today we're driving back to Miami to hang out with Marty's father for the weekend. We'll also be doing the first Key Biscayne Trilogy triathlon on Sunday. It will be fun to race in an area that we don't usually get to and see other people. Then we're back up to Orlando for a few days and starting July 1 where on the road for about a month and half. I'm looking forward to it - but think we should definitely get some satellite radio before we begin our journey.

June 20 - Marty informed me today that my age group will be the very last one to go off at USAT Nationals in Kansas City. I'll start at 8:55 and will hit the run course at approximately 10:40. I've been glancing at the weather there and temps are regularly in the 90s. Its going to be a scorcher! I'll try to spin it mentally by saying that I'll be better prepared since we're training in hot and humid conditions right now, but really, at some point hot weather isn't very advantageous to anyone. I just have to hope that I can stay tough out there.

June 18 - I had another great day this morning at the Madeira Beach Mad Dog Triathlon. All the women 39 & under went off together and it was quite the boxing match to get to the first buoy. I made the turn and swimming right next to me was my good friend Carey! It was so funny - I breathe to the left more, and she breathes to the right more and I couldn't help but smile as we swam most of the course together. When Marty and I were in Orlando Carey and I had many 6:00 am swim practices together. I think I had a good swim for myself and came out right behind Kailand Cosgrove who is definitely one to watch in the next few years. She is a stud and she's only 16. I tried to be super quick in T1 and was off on my bike. I really pushed the bike hard and ended up with the fastest bike split again for women! No one is more surprised by this than me. All those aerobic bike rides we did in Australia have really made a difference for me I think. The bike this year was shortened to about 11.6 miles (my best estimate off of the google pedometer), instead of the usual 15.5 mile. I made up some time on Sharon B. on the bike and came into transition while she was changing her shoes for the run. I haven't ever beaten her before so I knew I must have been having a pretty good one if she was already in sight. I took off on my run and stayed relaxed the whole way and felt pretty good. Crossed the line first overall for the second week in a row. Marty also had a good day out there, finishing 2nd overall. We have yet to hit this race where we've both won; we seem to be rotating between 1st and 2nd all the time.

June 12 - After studying the results a bit, I discovered something that I have never done before -- I had the fastest bike split out of everyone! Seriously, I've always been a very wimpy cyclist, not generating much power and hoping not too many people pass me. I can't believe it- it must be my new Felt S22 :)

June 11 - The track workout left me sore for several days but I was recovered in time for the race this weekend. Results are up here. All in all I'm very happy with how I felt, and its always fun to cross the line in first! Next up is the Mad Dog Triathlon next Sunday. That one is always tough having to run on the soft sand for half of the run, but the post-race party more than makes up for it.

June 7 - Training is starting to come back around again. I got in a solid brick workout on Sunday and did a few bike intervals this morning with Marty and one of his clients. Tonight we're going to hit the track with our old group - it will be painful but I'm looking forward to running with everyoe.

May 28 - Our traveling schedule has been hectic, but Marty and I were able to at least get a short run in almost every day while in New Zealand. I had to take a couple of days off after the 1/2 marathon to let my underdeveloped quads heal, but they got back into it pretty quick. There is no question that both of us will have lost some fitness the past 2 weeks, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Traveling the south island of New Zealand - seeing glaciers - mountains and lakes - skydiving in Queenstown...yeah, training can definitely take a backseat :)

May 20- Super low week of training this past week, but to be expected since we were traveling up the coast to the Great Barrier Reef. We got some running in and one 15 minute swim, yikes! Today we're resting up for the Sydney Half Marathon tomorrow morning. This will be my first stand alone half marathon, so pacing will be interesting. If the course is marked at all it will be in kilometers so that won't help much. My only other experiences with half marathons are the two death march/walks I had at the Duke half ironman, but I think I will be able to improve on those! I'm just going to take it out pretty easy and use it as a nice training run. The course is 2 laps with only 2 water stops and is supposed to have several steep hills. Should be a good time!

May 10 - We've been toughing it out at our local pool. The Pittwater House is a private school that is just a 12 minute jog from our apartment. They let the public use their pool for casual swims for just $3 (AUS). Its a very nice 25 meter pool so we really lucked out with its location. There is a problem, though. I don't think it has a heater. For the past few months its been fine, just a little chilly when you jump in but really nice swimming water. This week has been another story as temperatures in the morning and evening are getting pretty chilly. Monday when we swam, the air temp was in the low 60's, and we found out the water temp was 22 degrees celsius. That works out to 71.6 degrees Fahreheit. Today, the air temp was warmer when we got to the pool, but the water temp actually felt a bit colder. Some of you who know me well know that I am an absolute wimp when it comes to cold water. Back last year cold water meant anything under 80, so this is a big deal for me. I've been jumping in without too much grumbling but will be glad to get home to some normal temperatures. By the way, we're usually the only ones in the pool right now.

May 7 - Marty and I got in another solid week of training this week. We'll train hard this week coming up and then my sister comes in early Saturday. This is what separates the two of us from the real hardcore triathletes. We really do want to be competitive and enjoy training, but when it comes down to it, its just our hobby. Once Shana gets here we're going on a whirlwind of traveling and sightseeing and our training will go down significantly. We're not bringing our bikes on either of our trips to the Great Barrier Reef or to New Zealand. I'm sure we'll run and swim when we can, but we'd much rather enjoy the vacation and have fun. I have no idea when we'll get to see either of these places again, and to be able to experience it with my sister will be great. I don't want to have worry about getting in a 3 hour bike ride and a swim, so I'm not going to. Hopefully the training we've put in will stay in us long enough so when we get back to Florida we'll get back on track. But if we lose some of it, so be it.

May 5 - So I'm not always the most decisive person in the world. Last week we went to a local bike shop to look at some bikes for me. They sold me on an Azzurri carbon road bike. It was a great price and looked like a great bike. They didn't have the one I needed in stock so they were going to ship it up here from their Melbourne store (so we haven't paid for it yet). Its been a week now and its still not here and I've had some time to think about it. I'm just not sure its what I want - and I think one of the reasons is because I'm still learning about what makes a good race bike. I obviously want something that's fast but what exactly does that mean? I'm the one who is going to make it fast, but having an aero frame and an integrated aero headset will make a difference. They would put aero bars on the handle bars, but I was still thinking I would want the bull horns added once we got home. That's what I've been riding for 5 years so I don't know the difference in comfort anyways as opposed to the road bike setup. And obviously, price is a concern. So after asking my dear husband many, many questions he told me in the kindest way possible to stop stressing about it and we'll wait until we get home to get me a new bike. I think I'm going to look at the Cervelo P2SL and the Felt S22. Both are sold at Loco Motion and they have always been very good to us in the past.

Apr 27 - Marty and I have been getting in good consistent training which we're hoping to continue for the next few weeks. I'm feeling good and the knee isn't too bothersome right now. I'm still very careful and ice quite a bit, but so far I've been able to stay on top of it. Stay tuned for some more information, but wanted to get the word out that my dad, Brian Harrington, will be running for a USAT national board of directors slot (for Florida) in the October elections. Current USAT members will be getting election ballots in August. My dad has been involved in triathlons for 20 years and is an all around good guy. You want him to be elected, trust me! :)

Apr 21 - The past race down in Geelong went much better than the previous one in Port Stephens. I only had slight knee pain on the run, but it was totally manageable. I think I ended up 9th in my age-group, but would've been 6th had I not decided to have tea and crumpets with my wetsuit. So not bad for Australia's National Championship. Unfortunately, the timing system failed so we have no idea what our splits ended up being. I timed my run, but that was it. Anyways, Marty and I are going to hunker down and start doing more intense training and try to up our thresholds so we can be in good shape when we get back stateside.

Apr 11 - Been having some IT band issues the past 5 days or so which has kept my training very low. Its frustrating since I actually have time to train right now but I know its in my best interest to not push it so it doesn't turn into a full blown injury. I did get a decent swim workout in this morning - this time off should force me to swim more so maybe its a blessing. I'm still planning on doing the race this weekend; just going to go have some fun.

Apr 1 - I had gotten into a pretty consistent training regimen that got slightly interrupted when I had to travel home, but I was able to still get some good workouts in. A friend of ours was nice enough to lend his bike to me and I made it to Northshore pool a handful of times. I did a 5K in Tampa and negative split each mile and felt very strong at the end so that has to be a good sign. I also got in a solid tempo run before I flew back to Sydney. Unfortunately, because of that International Date Line I missed a complete day and then seem to have some pretty bad jet lag right now so I may just get in a short run this evening. Next up is another Olympic Distance down in Melbourne on Easter weekend. Even though Melbourne and Sydney look close on a map, its about a 10 hour drive to get there, so we're going to do the tourist thing and stay for a bit and check out the city and surrounding areas.

Mar 14 - I ended up 10th in my age group at the race this weekend! Pretty bad! I would've been 3rd in the 30-34 age group, which I always thought was more competitive but apparently my age group was the most competitive. I was way behind in the swim, as expected. I haven't done any gut-busting swim workouts yet which will need to be done if I want to get any better. My bike was okay (both transitions were included, so not totally sure on the time, but not terrible for right now). And, as Marty has already announced, he totally kicked my butt on the run. I know I could've gone faster but wanted to make sure I took it out a little conservative to make sure I got a good run under me. It definitely gives me a little confidence that I was able to negative split the two "5ks" by over 30 seconds after racing for almost 2hrs by that time. But yeah, I definitely feel pretty slow overall.

Mar 9 - Our trip in Tasmania was a great jumping off point for consistent training. We had been getting in some pretty good training prior to the trip, but now we're starting to hit our groove and are getting in some great base workouts. We both want to try and do well at age group nationals in July, so hopefully we're on our way now. We swam twice in the ocean pool which is very close to our apartment. This is an interesting place to swim - its filled with ocean water and there are usually fish swimming around below. There's also sometimes a current depending on waves and tides. There aren't any lifeguards or lane lines, so its very much swim at your own risk - and I don't mean risk as in drowning, but risk as in you might run into a floating old person or a kid who has decided to do somesaults across the pool. It allows you to practice sighting and is probably a good way to simulate open water swimming. Its cold for me (~70 degrees or so), but I grin and bear it and jump in after sitting on the edge for about 5 minutes. Last night we went to the masters workout at a regular pool close by. They do quite mind-numbing workouts and yesterday was no exception - the main set was 13 x 200 with 20 seconds rest. Boring! But its probably what I need to do to start swimming like a real athlete again. I thought I was doing okay but was getting pretty frustrated with the times I was coming in on. It took me until the 13th 200 to realize that we were in a 25 METER pool! Marty says thats about 6 seconds per 100, so with that in mind, I'm still quite slow, but not as slow as I originally thought.

Mar 6 - Had a great couple of weeks down in Tasmania even though it started out with a DNF in the Hobart race. I got in my highest ever workout hours for a week - 25 hours! Most of them on the bike which is equally incredible since my biking hours have historically been very low. I'm hoping that this will be a good jumping off point for some better bike splits this year. Next on the list is my swim training which has been pitifully low the past 3 or so weeks. I'll be swimming slow this weekend at the Port Stephens triathlon I'm sure, but hopefully come July I'll be much better.

Feb 15 - Felt like I had a good one out at our first triathlon of the year. I ended up 4th overall and 2nd in my age group. We just swam on Monday but then biked and did a track workout last night (my times are coming down again, after quite a break from any intensity) and then rode kind of long this morning and now my legs are beat! Still going to meet some friends for a run and then swim with a squad nearby but I'm thinking I'm going to take it easier the next few days so I'm not totally crapped out for the Olympic distance down in Tasmania.

Feb 10 - We've been doing pretty much the same bike ride every time we've gone out. We ride for about 25 minutes to a road that is very popular with cyclists - a road that climbs for about 30 minutes. Its a nice climb, has a couple of little downhill sections and flats to give you just a moments break, but mostly its up up and up. There are only a few spots where I get out of my saddle, the rest is in the easiest gear pedaling away. Its really quite a nice ride, and each time its gotten a little bit easier.

Feb 6 - I started to keep a training log. I'm notoriously bad at keeping up with my logs and have been trying for the better part of 8 years now. I'll be good for a couple of months and then I'll forget for a few days, which turns into a few weeks, etc. Anyways, I think its a useful tool and am going to try to start again. I did the Cole Classic 2K swim yesterday morning. I'm not in great swimming shape right now, but I should've had more confidence than I did yesterday. For some reason I thought that everyone in Australia is a good swimmer, but apparently that's not the case. I ran in the water kind of slow and was really almost the last one to start swimming (the water temp may have also had something to do with this) but then I ended up passing a ton of swimmers. I was 25th out of 72 women in my age group, so not too bad, but I have a long way to go!

Jan 30 - Yay! Back on the bikes and it sure is nice. I also got in one good swim last week (I'm not counting the swim that I did that I spent more time in the bathroom then I did in the water). I got in 2.4K and my arms were killing me but I actually felt okay in the water and don't think I was too slow considering my lack of swimming. I'm sure I'll get in more this week and hopefully start adding some distance. Planning on doing a 1K open water swim this next weekend at Manly Beach. I hope there aren't any sharks - just kidding, Mom!

Jan 25 - We made it to Australia, but not without carrying some stomach bug parasite from the Philippines. Its layed me up the past couple of days but I did manage to get in a run and bike ride (my first in almost a month!). Sydney seems to be an athletes paradise; we see cyclists and runners everywhere. I tried to go for a swim last night but stomach was not going to let me have any of that. I'm feeling better today, but plan on taking it easy tomorrow in the 8k they have going on for Australia Day (like our July 4th). I hope to get back into it next week!

Jan 18 - We're still in the Philippines right now and will be heading to Australia this weekend. That means that we will finally be getting back on our bikes and in the pool! Our bikes have already arrived in Sydney so that's a good thing. Hopefully they weren't damaged or anything while they were en route (or however you spell that). Actually, Marty made some lame promise to me that if mine was damaged he would buy me a new one, so maybe I want it to be damaged? Don't get me wrong, I do like my bike but I feel like I'm about ready for an upgrade. I didn't bring my race wheels so I'll be even slower in the races down under. The plan was when I get back to the US I'll put them back on for races, but in all the mess packing up our place into storage, Marty accidentally threw my front race wheel into the depths of the storage unit - never to see the light of day until October sometime. Aughhh! My swimming has totally gone downhill. We have a small pool here at the house we are at in Philippines, but I can't seem to get myself motivated to swim very much when I can only take like 7 strokes. Marty is part fish and somehow he still enjoys doing flip turns every 5 seconds. Me, I get dizzy.

Jan 6 - Hey everyone! We're in Hong Kong right now after 29 hours or so of traveling. I'm getting ready to take a long awaited shower and maybe a little nap. The past few days before we left were pretty exhausting but we managed to get everything into storage and squared away. A big thanks to Bill for putting us up for the two days before we left and for everything else he did (helping us move all of our crap, taking us to the airport, etc). It was also a nice surprise to see our good friend Dan drive up the day before we left while we were packing our bikes up. We were a little distracted, but it was great to get a final see ya later before our trip. I was a little sad at take-off, but have since been fine, and am really looking forward to what lies ahead. I'm going to be updating our trippin06 part of the site more regularly, so start checking that out instead. You can go directly to the website HERE, if you don't want to have to watch the cute intro cartoon everytime. Marty is going to set it up soon so we each have separate pages (I'm not so html savvy yet, but maybe I will be in the next few weeks...) See ya over there!