Bri Gaal - 2006 Blog

Dec 31 - Its the last day of 2006 and I'm definitely sorry to see this past year go. Marty and I had such an exciting one, and our memories will last a lifetime. 2007 probably won't be as adventurous, but we're still going to try and make it as fun as possible!

So the dumb cold had I had last week has morphed into my chest, very annoying. Training volume has been LOW as I've been trying to kick this thing. Hopefully by the time we're in Florida on Saturday I'll be as good as new.

Dec 28 - We're back in Cary now, spent a lot of time in the car yesterday because of an accident and with the sick puppy it wasn't much fun. I've been looking up reasons for car sicknesses in dogs and 95% of the time its because of fear. So we're going to try and acclimate her to the car and take her on short trips to the park so she begins to realize that car trips are fun. After taking a few days off for my IT band, I then got a bit sick so I've had an unintended mini-break for about a week. No worries, though, I'll get back into it soon. I also sold my Cervelo on ebay a few days ago. I got that bike when I first got back into triathlons at the end of college and it saw me through a whole lot of races. It also had some great rides in Australia and Tasmania, so its a well traveled bike. I hope the girl who bought it has as much fun with it as I did! One of Marty's clients who shall now be forever called "the nicest lady in the world" has offered to give me her old roadbike - how awesome is that?!

Dec 25 - Merry Christmas! We've had a lot of fun up here in Virginia with our family. We found out on the drive up that our puppy gets nice and carsick - that was great. She gets along really good with her cousins (the other dogs) and she especially loves my niece Ashleigh who is almost 2. I think because she is Tassie's height and they have the same hair. Workout wise, I took a couple of days off because my IT band was hurting but I tested it out today on a short run and it felt pretty good. I always try to baby any sign of injury so I can catch it before it turns into anything. We'll be eating our traditional Christmas lasagna in a bit - YUM!

Dec 21 - Last night I went out with some friends for some dinner, drinks, and last minute Christmas shopping. It was a lot of fun - I haven't had a girls night out in quite sometime. Marty is always my constant companion whenever I go out (we'll hereby be known as Marbri), and we always have a good time, but it was nice to laugh a lot with the girls. Earlier we had run with the Ali-(sh/ci)a's at Umstead which was great - Marbri got to sit back and let the time go by as these two told stories and cackled the whole way. Way too much energy in them, perhaps I should change my name to some version of their's so I can also tap into it. Marbri then swam at the Y before Bri broke off for a much needed massage from Melissa.

Dec 18 - Marty and I are getting in some good base training at the moment. The triathlon team we're on up here is full of studs and its hard not to compare what others are doing or what type of shape they're in. Its easy to get caught up in it and do too much too soon. I know for myself that I'm not really a high mileage person. I think I can get there, but I have to do it more slowly than a lot of people can. And then I think back to what I was doing last year at this time (packing up our condo) and what type of training I was doing (nada - we didn't even see our bikes until the end of January) and I still managed to have a pretty decent season for myself. So really, this is the first time I've put in some real basework this early. Time will tell if it pays off! In any event, I just really enjoy working out, and having fun is my M.O., so its all good :)

This will be the first Christmas of my whole life that has not been spent in St. Petersburg. Things are a bit different with my grandma having passed away in late March, so the family is trooping up to my sister Heather's house in Virginia. It will be a full house: my mom, 3 of us sisters, 2 husbands, 2 little girls, and 4 dogs will all celebrate the holiday together. We'll be down in Florida in early January and hope to see a lot of our friends then.

Dec 14 - Yesterday we did a long run in Umstead with Alisha. We did some loop on the bridle trails which was nice and hilly - it reminded me of the Clermont clay loop but without the clay and with about a million more big trees for shade :) The next few days its going to warm up to almost 70 degrees! If only it would stay like this through the winter! After our run we did a swim workout and I'm finally starting to feel like I can move through the water again. Last night we had my work Christmas party where we did one of those fun dirty Santa gift exchanges. I ended up with some chocolate from Germany (YUM). I brought 6 different microbrews which turned out to be a very popular gift and kept getting stolen. Lucky me I only have to open up our fridge to get even more variety than I brought to the party. We're going to head out for ride in a bit which will culminate at a bakery in Apex.

Dec 10 - Nice weekend up here in chilly NC. We've had some unseasonably cold weather, but it warms up in the afternoon and is very pleasant. We're learning how to bundle up on the bike, and its always encouraging to see so many people out riding. Tassie is doing really good - we don't know how we got so lucky to get such a calm puppy! She still has a few accidents every once in awhile but she's just a baby :) We're so happy that she lets us sleep as late as we want without making a peep (although late is only about 7am). We met some people out at a local bar to watch Ironman Hawaii and we met some more really nice triathletes. I DVR'd the coverage which I might watch again soon since there was more socializing going on than watching tv. We thought of our friends back in Orlando last night who ran an unofficial club track meet and then hit the Orlando Brewery after. Sounded like a lot of fun and wish we could've been there!

Dec 7 - We had a nice run this morning at Umstead with Alisha. The weather was beautiful and the run went by very fast with constant conversation. Marty put up Tassie's page for fun the other day and our puppy had 38 different people look at it yesterday! Not bad! If she starts getting more page views than we do we know we're in trouble.

Dec 4 - Tassie is such a sweetheart. We are so happy we got her and she seems to be happy living with us. We're getting her used to her crate at night and last night she didn't make a peep until almost 7am (this puppy has amazing bladder control!) She tired herself out yesterday running around our backyard with another dog and you could literally do anything you wanted to her and she did not want to wake up in the evening. We kept trying to get her to run around with us because we didn't want her up all night. I swear if she could've she would've put her little paws over her eyes and told us to go away. But of course if we walked out of the room she couldn't stand it and would follow us. Yesterday morning we rode with a group out Cycling Spoken Here (which is right around the corner from our house). An amazing crowd for what we thought was a cold morning, but people seem to deal with the weather much better up here. It turned out to be a very nice day for riding and I actually had to work hard a bit which I haven't done in several months. Whenever I ride with Marty, I usually put my hands on the pads of my aero bars because its much more comfortable than riding on the bullhorn bars (I only have a tri bike). But in a group I have to ride out there so I can have my hands near the brakes because of the yo-yo effect. My back gets pretty sore riding out there for a couple of hours. Anyone have an old road bike they'd like to get out of their garage and sell to me for a cheap price? I'm 5'8" :)

Dec 2 update #2 - Marty is wearing his king crown again, as he got me at the Jingle Bell run right near our house in Bond Park. It was nice to be able to jog over to the race and then jog home after. I can't complain about my race because I went faster then the Old Reliable 5k and this one was mostly on trails. Marty really got some space on me on the downhills, apparently I'm not very aggressive on them. He finished a hair under 19:00 and I came in at 19:11. Very fun morning.

Dec 2 - Tassie is getting more comfortable with us and has decided that whining and yelping at night is okay. Not for us! I was ready to wring her fluffy little neck and ship her out of here the other night ;) I got her a new crate that should be more comfortable and not as hot, geez dogs are expensive. I also took her to her first day of dog obedience class on Thursday night and our timid little puppy decided she would be Ms. Outgoing with ADD. She sure is cute though.

Marty and I are in for St. Anthony's next year. We're both going to compete in the Elite Amateur wave and enjoy a less crowded bike course. We also had our first meeting with the Elite Triangle Team and got to meet everyone. It seems like a very fun (and fast!) group of people. Unfortunately, I had to turn down my spot on the Her Sports team to be on this team because it would've been a conflict with the Her Sports contract, but I thought it would be better to be on a local team. As it was, I was the only one on the Her Sports team that wasn't in one of their designated regions. They sure were good to me over the past two years, and I'm sure whoever filled my spot will be a happy triathlete.

Nov 28 - Day 2 of parenthood. Tassie got a bath and didn't complain at all - she was so good! She also conquered the stairs and made a friend with another golden doodle. She's now sleeping at our feet while we're sitting at the dining room table. All in all, a good day.

Nov 27 - We picked up our puppy today and she is adorable! She's a bit timid but she is so sweet. We've been having fun running around the backyard and trying to get her to understand the idea of bringing back the ball to us after we throw it. She's going to make a great pet.

Nov 25 - Its an absolutely beautiful day up here. Marty and I went for a run at Umstead then came home and bagged a bunch of leaves. Raking and blowing leaves isn't so bad when its so nice out. We're going to head to the movies before watching the Notre Dame/USC game - GO IRISH!!!

Nov 23 - Happy Turkey Day! We ran in our local Turkey Trot this morning which makes stuffing ourselves later much more enjoyable. The race had nice rolly hills to keep it interesting and I was very happy to run pretty even splits the entire way. A couple of girls put on some good kicks towards the end but I have only one speed right now since I haven't done any type of speedwork in a long time. The race was a lot of fun - Marty hung back the entire time and then tried to make a move right at the end but I was able to outkick him by 2 seconds. I think he kind of let me win, though, because he didn't want me to lose 2 weeks in a row :) We're both very happy with how our running is going on just pure basework. Hopefully it translates into some faster times next season.

Nov 22 - It looks like I will busting out the indoor trainer this morning. Its rainy and cold and riding outside doesn't look like an option. This will be the first time I've had to ride on my trainer in almost a year! Its something I did quite often back in Orlando because I never felt comfortable riding from our condo in downtown. That all changed when we were down in Australia and now here in Cary I would never think of riding indoors unless the weather is crappy. Tomorrow we're supposed to run a turkey trot sponsored by Inside-Out, but if the weather stays like this we may bag out of it.

Nov 18 - This morning Marty and I ran together at Umstead. We stuck mostly to the bridle trails and saw tons of people out there. We kept up a pretty decent pace and ran long enough for me to remember how much my body struggles with long runs. Since it was just me and Marty, I got to complain the last 10 minutes, which I wouldn't normally do with anyone else :) I'll get the hang of them again after a few of them. We definitely aren't lacking in the hill department, which is great. Then in the afternoon we went for an easy bike ride - I don't know what I would do without my favorite training partner.

Nov 16 - The other night I started to feel a little 'off'. My throat was beginning to hurt and I was very tired. I got up the next morning for an easy swim and I knew something was wrong. Sometimes its hard for us athletes to sit back and not train when you are coming down with something. I didn't feel terrible, but I knew something was up, so I skipped a beautiful ride and took a nap instead. I went to work and still wasn't feeling all that good and it culminated in chills that night where I finally woke up soaking wet in bed. I must've had a fever and then broke it. I took today off too - I know, almost two days of not exercising! But I feel so much better now. Hopefully, I got ahead of whatever was going to get me down and its out of my system. Its all about listening to your body.

Marty and I have been tossing around the idea of getting a dog. I love dogs and we have this great back yard now that is just begging to be run around in. I really want to get some sort of hybrid poodle dog, because they are less likely to shed and cause my allergies to erupt. Its all good in talk, though - its hard to get Marty to commit to an addition to our family! But hopefully down the road when you come and visit us, you'll be greeted by a happy, scruffy dog.

Nov 12 - Marty signed us up for a popular road race in downtown Raleigh called The Old Reliable. Weather was cold, windy and rainy but the 1pm start was nice. The rain let up a little for the 5K so we just had to deal with the wind and elevation changes. I thought if I had a good one I would run under 21:00, so I was surprised to feel pretty strong and finish in 19:27 and 2nd overall female. Neither one of us has done any type of speedwork, but I guess our aerobic bases are much better than they have been in the past. Marty bested me by 9 seconds, but he not only busted out the racing flats without telling me, but also took cold medicine for some bitty cold he claims to have ;) Actually, I'm very proud of him for running very strong - he was just the faster Gaal today.

Nov 11 - Fast times and PR's looked to be had by most at the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, FL this morning. We watched a bit of the broadcast on the internet and the weather looked just about perfect. The bike course is flat, flat, flat and split times proved this. But I really want to tell Andrew Hodges what a stud he was out there! First age-grouper in a 3:59 is incredible! Congratulations, Andrew!!

Nov 9 - Melissa and Dave showed us some more bike routes this morning, the possibilities seem endless out here! We rode out to the backside of the Duke 1/2 Ironman course and then out to another area that had very little traffic. The weather was beautiful - I was the only one with arm warmers and I didn't really need them. My first paycheck has basically been given back to Inside-Out, but at least I get a good discount :)

Nov 8 - Big Happy Birthday to my favorite guy.

Nov 7 - So I'm back in the workforce. Not exactly putting to very good use my accounting degree and MBA, but I'm having fun and have already met some very nice people. Its been raining all day and just basically crummy out, so I didn't workout at all. Ahhh, the off season :)

Nov 5 - All of Marty's athletes did really well in the Ironman and all came across the finish line with big smiles. Its always inspiring to watch, but I'm still not convinced I will ever do one. We're in the car right now heading back to NC. Upon arriving in Florida my allergies went haywire and I'm finally feeling some relief now that we're heading away from the state. Marty heard in the bathroom (of all places) that ragweed was very bad at the time in the panhandle. My nose is nice and red and raw at the moment. We still have about 5 more hours of our 12 hour drive to go; we're both very psyched to not have to go anywhere for several weeks.

Nov 3 - We made it down to Panama City - brrrrr! I hope all the racers brought their arm warmers!

Nov 1 update part 2 - When I made the update below, I was sitting at our dining room table downstairs. When Marty made his, he was upstairs in our office. We happened to make our updates at almost identical times and said a lot of the same stuff! I swear we hardly ever read each others updates before making our own, so sorry they're so similar. I guess that's what happens when you spend too much time with each other...

Nov 1 - We spent most of this morning at the DMV and the Tag & Title Agency. I don't like my license picture and they really nailed us with first time fees getting our tags. We felt better after getting out to Umstead and running on the Company Mill Trail. This is a tough trail and although some maps say its only 5 or 6 miles, I think that's a bunch of hooey as it took us 56 min to run it today (it took us over an hour last week when it was rainy and slick). We met a nice man who works for SAS and ran with us the entire way - I love how friendly everyone is out here. I also spent a bit of time on our hammock in the backyard. The weather is so nice right now and I'm not sure how long its going to stay like this before it gets too cold to lounge outside so I wanted to take advantage of it. I picked up a book in the airport this past weekend by Gregory Maguire called Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; it was really good! So I picked up Wicked on our way back and am really enjoying it also. I'm not much of a musical fan, but I guess this book inspired a pretty popular broadway musical. One more trip for us starting tomorrow, then we're going to stay put for several weeks, I can't wait! We're heading to Panama City to watch Ironman Florida. I'm sure it will be fun, just not looking forward to the drive too much. And then, on Monday, I start some part-time work at Inside-Out Sports. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and having some fun over there.

Oct 31 - Happy Halloween! I'm going to miss heading to downtown Orlando with friends tonight, like we've done most years. We got back from Phoenix yesterday afternoon after having a great time out there. The weather was perfect and the wedding was a lot of fun. We came back to more great weather and changing leaves - very beautiful!

Oct 26 - This Saturday Marty and I are flying out to Phoenix for a wedding. You know, we haven't been on a plane for a good few weeks so we felt like we needed to travel somewhere ;) The wedding is for one of Marty's friends from his lifeguarding days in Jersey. Lance Muzslay was also an awesome ironman athlete - he has some sick personal record of having raced in like 19 Ironmans over his career - all of which have been UNDER 10 hours! He raced professional for a few years and had some real good results at some of the big races. A few years ago he quit his job as an engineer and opened a running store with his friend. Scottsdale Running Company is a great running store out there and he's been putting more time into it rather than his triathlon career. It still didn't stop him from finishing 27th overall at the inaugural Ironman Arizona. Anyways, we're looking forward to flying out there and having a little rest from all the unpacking and house stuff.

Oct 24 - Sweet, we now have internet and tv in our house! The tv is crazy, we have so many channels and a dvr and all this on demand stuff. I know probably a lot of you have had all this for awhile, but Marty and I always seem to be a little behind the curve on these things. He's upstairs counting our money with an abacus right now.

Oct 26 - This Saturday Marty and I are flying out to Phoenix for a wedding. You know, we haven't been on a plane for a good few weeks so we felt like we needed to travel somewhere ;) The wedding is for one of Marty's friends from his lifeguarding days in Jersey. Lance Muzslay was also an awesome ironman athlete - he has some sick personal record of having raced in like 19 Ironmans over his career - all of which have been UNDER 10 hours! He raced professional for a few years and had some real good results at some of the big races. A few years ago he quit his job as an engineer and opened a running store with his friend. Scottsdale Running Company is a great running store out there and he's been putting more time into it rather than his triathlon career. It still didn't stop him from finishing 27th overall at the inaugural Ironman Arizona. Anyways, we're looking forward to flying out there and having a little rest from all the unpacking and house stuff.

Oct 24 - Sweet, we now have internet and tv in our house! The tv is crazy, we have so many channels and a dvr and all this on demand stuff. I know probably a lot of you have had all this for awhile, but Marty and I always seem to be a little behind the curve on these things. He's upstairs counting our money with an abacus right now.

oct 22 - I ran the Inside-Out 10k this morning in Cary. The tougher people ran the half marathon. I didn't know a soul and had no knowledge of the course until I heard people at the starting line talking about how this was such a hilly course and how it was one of the hardest all year, blah blah blah. I'm thinking, great, what have I gotten myself into?! So I decided to take it out very conservative. It was a good strategy because I ended up passing people the entire race and felt strong the entire way. I got myself into 2nd place and could see the 1st place girl, but I ran out of real estate. My time was pretty pathetic, but with the amount of hills and lack of training I think it was actually pretty good :) Met a nice man on the walk back to my car and then had to go pick Marty up at the airport so I wasn't able to stick around for awards. Its definitely a contrast from racing in Orlando where every 10ft I would run into someone I knew, and then doing a race up here where I don't know anyone. Hopefully that will change after we do more races and get with groups to train. I'm still unpacking - we're down to all the miscellaneous items that I don't know where to put.

Oct 21 - Sorry for the lack of updates - we don't have internet yet in our house, and although we do have a SIM card, Marty has priority since he has to bring home the bacon. I'm able to steal about 5 minutes of internet time from him; just enough to check my email really. Unpacking is still going strong, and we're starting to see just a bit of progress. It will really be nice once we have our tv hooked up and our new furniture. Marty is down in Orlando right now - he's going to be doing the run portion of the GFT 1/2 Ironman tomorrow morning. It should be a good workout for him seeing as neither one of us has run much over easy pace for many, many weeks! And he told me that its supposed to get up to 92 down there tomorrow. The weather is beautiful up here, by the way ;) And yes, I know it will get cold this winter. We're just going to have to bundle and figure out how to deal with it. I had some fun getting lost in the trails at Bond Park which is very close to our house. I'm so psyched to have trails to run on now. Tomorrow morning my sister and I are going to go for an easy bike ride with Melissa Hall (who lives closer to us now then when she lived in Winter Park). Then on Sunday I'm going to jog the 10K in Cary. Yes, it will definitely be a jog.

Oct 15 - We've unloaded into our new house and we're still very happy with how lucky we got with it. Although we don't have much furniture right now (should be delivered in a few weeks) or tv (new flat panel will be hung by the end of this week), we're keeping busy going through box after box. I don't think it will ever end! The move was good - no major problems at all. We hired some help and it made a big difference getting our stuff out of storage and then into our house. Marty did a great job driving the big truck all the way up here in one day, and it was a lot of fun to see my sisters and nieces. My brother-in-law is very handy and he did a lot for us yesterday putting all sorts of stuff together and installing this and that. Marty and I went for a nice trail run near our house tonight; I'm very excited about all the trail running around here. Now all we have to do is make some friends :)

Oct 13 - Congrats to Brian Harrington for winning the Florida Regional Rep for USAT! Way to go, Dad!

Oct 11 - Congratulations to Amy & Marc on their newest additon, Tristan!

Oct 9 - Finally, Orlando has gotten its act together with Orlando Brewing. This place is awesome - it has very tasty beers and a very cool atmosphere. You are even greeted at the door by a friendly dog that is part Great Dane (his name is Tracker). I don't think a lot of people know about this place yet, but you should all head over there. Funny enough, it's very close to where our old condo is, and Marty was crying in his beer last night thinking of what could've been had we stayed. Just kidding, he wasn't and we've already got some good spots staked out in our area up in NC. And yes, when you are driving there, you will think that you must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, but there amongst all the factories is the brew pub.

Oct 6 - The USAT Level I Coaching Clinic in Colorado Springs was excellent. We had some really great speakers and I feel like I came away with a lot of good information. We had a great running session by Bobby McGee, one of the best running coaches around, and several different talks by Gale Bernhardt, who is a very accomplished coach and author. The class size was big, bigger than I was expecting (~55) and definitely one of my weaknesses is being too shy around such a large group. I feel like I'm much better in a smaller setting or one on one, and its something I need to work on. Generally, most of the attendees were nice and came from all over the US. A lot seemed to be personal trainers and most were already coaching people. I have to say, I was surprised at how little some of them had been at triathlons, but surprisingly, years in the sport is not a requirement to be a coach. Since Marty and I are so used to doing everything together, I decided that I would also like to get a cold at the same time he did. This was not so fun on the plane flights, and I'm sure people sitting next to me really loved me blowing my nose and sneezing during some of the lectures. Hopefully I didn't infect anyone. The weather was beautiful out there and I did get in some short runs at altitude - always a humbling experience. I tell you what, the next time you want an empty seat next to you on a flight, just start blowing your nose and sneezing. The poor guy next to me wouldn't even look straight ahead, he kept looking the opposite direction to me and he jumped out of his seat the second the seatbelt light went off in search of a new one. At least I got more leg room.

Oct 3 - Getting up at 4:00am is not so bad when you fall asleep at 8pm.

Oct 1 - Europe was great and Marty and I managed some nice runs here and there, but we both feel grossly out of shape at the moment. That's fine because its important to take breaks and now we're looking forward to starting in on some basework and regular workouts. We still have a lot to do before any of that happens, but we're still looking forward to it :) Running while on trips has got to be the best way to see the city. We had great runs along the Rhine in Germany/Switzerland, incredible runs through castles, and just generally enjoyed all the trails we found - and there were a lot. We'd set out for a run and all of the sudden - "look a running trail!" would invariably be said. Next up for the Gaals: I'm flying to Colorado Springs early Tuesday morning for the USAT coaching clinic, get back very late on Thursday night, then we leave for Orlando on Friday. We'll stay there all weekend and run a tri clinic at the NTC on Sunday. We'll come back to St. Pete on Tuesday morning and rent a big truck on Wednesday and that will be the start of our move to NC. We should be unloading the truck with the help of family on Saturday morning, the 14th. So we have a lot going on in the next few weeks!

Sep 9 - We've gotten in a few maintenance runs while in Spain, including yesterday where we ran for a bit more than an hour on the beach. The bike tour was a lot of fun on the hybrid bikes. A much different experience than our tour in Montana, but great nonetheless. For the most part, I won't be updating this page very often until we get back to the US, so check out my trippin06 page if you want to see what we're up to

Aug 30 - I was doing a little internet surfing today and realized that the Vuelta a Espana is going on and that it will still be going on when we get to Spain next week. I checked where our bike tour would be and it looks like one of the stages is going to be in a village that we will be in - just one day later! It would be pretty cool if we got to catch any of the race, but even being around all those crazy Basques could be very interesting.

Aug 27 - We had a nice ride in the rain on Saturday morning. We were going down to Northshore to meet the 7am group, but the rain kept most people away so it was a nice group of about 6. I got to catch up with Christina N - entrepreneur extraordinaire. Then we drove with my dad up to Starke to accompany him at the Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon while he announced, and to also cheer people on. Marty and I did a run before the race and although we plodded through the first couple of miles, we picked it up for the last mile and I was happy to run a 6:20 - I'm not totally slow yet!

Aug 23 - We've turned into athletes who workout minimally to stay kind of fit. Its nice :) Our seasons started pretty early down under and neither of us feel bad about cutting back right now. We leave for Europe on Sept 1 and I'll definitely pack running clothes and a swimsuit (in case we get to a pool somewhere). We're still doing a bike tour in Spain, but its a silly one that averages like 25 miles a day and we have 2 optional days where we can just stroll around a village. Today we drove back to St. Pete thus really completing our US tour. I had ordered stuff from Danskin awhile back when I got a gift certificate from getting 2nd at the Denver race, so I had some nice gifts waiting for me. I also ordered some extra small arm warmers I found online and they actually fit. I have to get prepared for some winter riding this year up in NC.

Aug 16 - My positive self-talk didn't even convince me. I've decided not to do the olympic distance race next weekend. If it was a sprint I would say no problem, but trying to do an olympic in Starke, Florida in oppressive heat without solid training would probably be an exercise in futility. I will say that this particular has had nothing but great reviews from last year so don't let anything I say deter anyone.

Aug 10 - We've been enjoying ourselves the past week more than training. I've had many milkshakes and cheeseburgers and not many swims or bikes or runs. Its definitely the end of the season for Marty and I. This year I was able to make a lot improvements, especially on the bike. I really feel like my running has been on the backburner for quite some time and I really want to work on that for next season. Over the fall and winter I'm going to try and get my mileage up and hopefully get back into a shape that I know I can get to. Swimming seems hopeless to me, no matter how much I swim I never seem to get beyond a certain level, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep working at it. So we have one final race left and I'm totally doing it for fun. At that point I will be way off my training so keeping it fun is the only way to look at it.

Aug 5 - Its a whole different thing doing a relay in a triathlon instead of the entire race. It was great knowing I didn't have to get off of my bike and run! I pushed it pretty hard out there and didn't realize until mile 30 that I had a great chance of blowing past my goal time. I hit 25 miles in just over 1:07, so that's a pr for any 40K I've ever done. I ended up with a 2:27 for the 56 mile ride which puts me at 22.9 mph and I'm very happy about it! The course was pretty crowded, especially since relays always go last, but I tried to pass as many people as possible and was very careful about my distance when anyone passed me. I wanted to work it hard and know that I did it all myself. Had a great time visiting with people we hadn't seen in a long time. Now its time for a barbeque and some beer!

Aug 1 - Wow, I can't believe we've been traveling since July 1! Its gone so fast again. I'm getting excited for the relay I'm doing this weekend - I'm really hoping to get out there on my bike and turn in a good time. I'm also itching to get back to a normal running and swimming schedule. Both have definitely fallen off in recent weeks but its okay. We still have quite a bit of driving to do and then will be in the Bahamas for a long weekend so it will be interesting to see how Marty and I do in an olympic distance we're planning on towards the end of August.

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!

Jan 1 - Happy New Year! We have had so much fun the past couple of days. Starting with Thursday, our friends had a happy hour downtown for us, and a lot of people showed up. My sister flew in on Friday night and we got some dinner and then met people out again. Last night we went to a New Year's Eve party of some of our friends and we had an absolute blast. I'm glad that we've been able to do so much with all of our friends before we leave, but really alls it is doing is making me realize how many good people we know and how much I'm going to miss them when we're gone.