Bri Gaal - 2008 Blog

Apr 21 - Marty and I are trying out the blogging world and seeing if we like it enough to ditch our old way of blogging. It's still a work in progress, but you can check it out here.

Apr 19 - We got home around 12:45am on Thursday morning and then I proceeded to work a full day. By the time I met up with Brooke, Nicolai, Marty and Alysia for our Thursday night ride I was VERY tired! But they pulled me around I even was able to muster some form of tempo even though my legs were absolutely screaming at me. Great ride, though. I had big plans of going home and getting right into bed but that 3 hour time difference we had been in really messed me up, so I ended up laying exhausted in bed with sleep escaping me. I couldn't ditch the morning swim because I hadn't swum in a week now, so I got myself up and over to the pool. My lanemates asked if I was okay :) This morning I unfortunately missed Tassie win her first race, because Alysia and I rode out in Hillsborough where the Maple View Farm store is. They have incredible chocolate milk and ice cream and it was the perfect end to a brick workout in beautiful weather. My legs are still pretty tired, I guess from the travel and all that, because I certainly didn't do a whole lot of training out in Arizona. Hopefully, they come around so I can try and make a respectable showing at St. Anthony's next weekend.

Apr 16 - Marty and I are sitting in a Starbucks at the Nashville airport right now. Although we both had direct flights out to Phoenix, we have a long layover here and won't get back to RDU until midnight. So I thought I would take this time to write a nice long trip report :)

First, Shana, I did put up a bunch of pictures on our picture page. This took most of our flight from Phoenix to Nashville. I don't know how the new blogs work, but putting up pictures on our sight is NOT easy and it's very time consuming. Hence the reason why I haven't put any up recently. But it gave me something to do on that 3 hour flight.

The past 5 days made me feel like we were traveling like we did in 2006. Just me and Marty, doing our thing and having fun. I made it out to Phoenix around 3pm on Saturday and we immediately went to see some of Marty’s athletes one last time before their Big Day. Several of them have been coached by Marty for a long time and I've gotten to know them so well. It is great to watch an Ironman and have so many people to cheer for.

We got to the race site the next morning with plenty of time for me to go get some breakfast. There was no way I was going to be able to make it much longer without food, stat! Luckily, I got an egg and cheese bagel sandwich and still had time to meet back up with Marty and watch the swim start. I absolutely couldn’t believe some of the back of the pack swimmers! This one guy was doing the double arm backstroke the entire time! (see picture page for evidence). I watched another guy floating on his back and just simply kicking (and no, he was not handicap). And then there was the guy who was doing a whole lot of breaststroke – this is not so unusual as I know people will do this to get their bearings or whatever, but when he almost ran into the boat ramp and had to start swimming for real, I realized he really didn't know how when he could not put his head in the water. What were these people thinking?

We made our way over to the start of the bike and got to watch everyone coming out. It was fun to watch the pros and see how quickly they get on their bikes. Very different than me ;) And I was able to pick out several of our athletes and we got to yell right in their faces. After watching everyone get out of T1 – I went for a run with Lee Z and we yelled for more people on the bike course. It was windy and already very, very warm. After the run we met back up with Marty and Lee's wife Erinne and we had a nice brunch. I had the most yummy banana's foster French toast which was followed by a very bad stomach ache that caused me to have to lay down for a few minutes in a local coffee shop.

Next we staked out some shade under an overpass where the first aid station was (and roughly the 8 mile and 17 mile stations since it was a 3 loop course). Our friends had bought a cooler on wheels and had it filled with Fat Tire so Marty was in heaven. We also caught up with some our Florida friends who had moved out west, Martha and Taylor Dudley. It is funny, but watching an ironman is exhausting! We were all hot, tired, achy - you name it and we complained about it. But not too loud lest we upset the competitors ;) It was a really tough day out there for many people. The conditions were hard. An Ironman is already difficult, but add in super wind and HEAT, and you’ve got a recipe for lots of DNF's. Even a lot of the pro's already looked spent coming off the bike and usually they make everything look so easy!

The rest of the day and night was spent cheering and yelling for everyone. It's nice that people's names are on their numbers so we could literally yell at everyone we wanted to. Especially Stefano (heehee – again, see pictures). Marty and I ducked out for a bit to get some dinner and then went back for as long as we could stand before we had to pack it in and go to bed.

The next morning we got up early in an attempt to get a run in back at the race headquarters. Of course we ran into everyone and had to cut our run short, but it was great to see some of the racers post race and talk about how they felt. I was so proud of our friend, Kathy Gagnier who won her age group (in her first Ironman) and is heading to Kona in October. After our run and breakfast at US Egg, we started our drive to Sedona. Everyone says it beautiful but I guess you really need to take one of their tours because we felt like we were missing something. Anyways, we did walk around the touristy area a bit and bought a few souvenirs. On to the Grand Canyon!

After a very scenic drive from Sedona to Flagstaff and then to the Grand Canyon we made it to our hotel (which happened to be right on the rim – AWESOME!). First things – it was cold and windy! We have video of how windy it got so when I have some time I'll put that up. We walked part of the rim, oohed and awed and then got some dinner. It was an early night to bed as we were both exhausted (again).

The next morning we got up for a run that was originally planned to be an hour, but turned out to be only about half that – did I say holy altitude yet? I realized later when I looked at my training schedule that I was supposed to do some zone 4 efforts. Yeah right! My coach didn't think that one through ;) Incidentally, it was my coach who said in a little girl's voice about 10min into the run, “Uh, could we walk, Bri?”

After breakfast and internet time, we took a long bus tour to some really awesome spots all along the canyon. Our lovable tour guide had all the weird quirks you would come to expect from someone who lives in the canyon. We had originally wanted to take a mule ride but they were all booked. They had some openings the next day but that wasn't going to work for us. Bummer. But the tour we took was still a lot of fun and we learned a great deal of history and got to take in even more spectacular views.

So that's our trip in a nutshell. We left the Grand Canyon this morning at 6am and drove to Phoenix to catch our flight. It's definitely a long travel day, but I don't really mind them at all, especially when they're because of something fun. If you've made it this far, congratulations. Don't expect my blog entries to be this long anytime soon.

Apr 15 - Miss me? :) Marty and I are at the Grand Canyon right now, enjoying a wireless connection before our bus tour (unfortunately, all mule rides were booked!). We had a great time cheering on everyone at Ironman Arizona where the conditions were absolutely brutal. VERY windy and VERY hot. Extremely fit people were reduced to walking, lying down and just plain calling it a day. Great job to everyone out there who was able to handle the elements and get to the finish line. We drove up to the Grand Canyon yesterday with a brief stop in Sedona. We're here all day and then fly out in the early afternoon tomorrow. We don't get in to Raleigh until close to midnight and I know the next few days at work will be extremely busy and tiring. And how is my training? Pretty non-existent as Marty and I huffed and puffed on a short run this morning at 7,000 feet! St. Anthony's what?

Apr 9 - I thought thought this little blurb in the paper this past weekend was ironic. The week is flying by again. I’m starting to feel like I’m getting into pretty good shape, albeit it’s on much lower volume. I don’t know where that puts me for races that are Olympic distance and over but time will tell I suppose! I hope I have enough endurance to finish strong at St. Anthony’s. This weekend we’re heading out to Tempe, Arizona for the Ironman. Even though Marty isn’t racing, we’ll still be cheering on all of his athletes who are, as well as everyone else out there. I’m looking forward to it; I always have a good time at these Ironmans. On Monday we’re driving to the Grand Canyon to spend a couple of days there and we’ll be staying right on the rim. That should be a lot of fun and even though my training, again, may take a dive, it will be worth it. I might not be able to ride my bike, but we’re looking into riding a mule down the trail!

Apr 6 - I ended up getting a pretty good 10 mile run in yesterday afternoon on the beach in and around the Wrightsville area. The baptism went well and little Cate didn't even cry that much when she got that cold water dumped on her forehead. Afterwards we headed to one Tim's sister's houses for a big feast. I NEEDED to get that run in after all that food! Then we went back over there later that night to watch the Final Four with the family. The hospitality of their family is so great and we had a lot of fun with everyone. And a special thanks to UNC for keeping me up WAY later than I wanted to be on Saturday night! This morning Marty raced in a Trysports race in Wilmington. Even though it's geared more towards beginners, there were still some very fast racers out there. I always enjoy watching triathlons and cheering for everyone. Marty did pretty good for not really training much at all over the past several weeks - and I think if I had raced it may have been a pretty close finish. Oh well ;) In other news, I'm tired of typing.

Apr 5 - We drove to Wrightsville Beach last night to meet up with Marty's sister, her husband and dad. Our niece, Cate, is getting baptized this morning and Marty is the Godfather. Tim, our brother-in-law, has a huge family so we are lucky enough to be staying in one his siblings beach houses. More family from both sides are here and we'll all be meeting up at the baptism and then after. I was planning on riding my bike beforehand, and hoping to sneak in at least 2 hours, so I got myself up early (6:45, which I think is early when you're staying at a beach house), and got completely dressed for my ride. Note to self, check weather before planning on any outdoor activities. Just as I was about to head downstairs and out to the car, I thought I heard some rain. Then thunder? How had I not heard that before? I opened the window and sure enough it's pouring out (and the Atlantic had some huge mean waves). Crap. This was definitely the only time I was going to be able to get a bike ride in. So now I need to be flexible and see if I can run instead in the afternoon and then maybe ride the trainer when we get home tomorrow night. Marty is doing a little sprint in Wilmington tomorrow morning but I'm going to sit it out and cheer. Enough blabbing, I actually could get work done as I'm sitting on the floor trying not to wake Marty.

Apr 2 - I bet none of you out there got an email from your husband while at work that said, "Hi honey, I bought a beer fridge today!" Any of you microbrew enthusiasts will want to stop by our house soon. It will be nice to have Marty's beer in a little fridge instead of the vegetable drawer. So the extra daylight we have now is so nice, especially when the weather cooperates. Yesterday Marty and I met Alisha and Anne for part of our run at Umstead, and today after work we had a great bike ride with Brooke, Nicolai and Amie. Now I must go to bed.

Apr 1 - I played a little April Fool's joke on Marty by putting a rubber band around the sink spiggot thingy so when he turned the water on it shot right at him. He thinks I'm hilarious. Here a couple of pictures from the weekend. Your's truly on the bike. Looks like I'm making a dumb face, of course. Here I am getting my award. Yes, it was still pretty cold at the awards ceremony, too. And here is a candid of Marty and Tassie.

Mar 31 - Here's my race report from this weekend for those of you who like to read all the gory details. The weather has been really crappy today so I only got a short lift in at work. I was going to run but didn't feel like running in cold rain, plus my mom is visiting so we went out to dinner which was much nicer. I'll try to get my sorry butt out of bed tomorrow morning and swim (something I failed to do today). Geez I'm boring tonight.

Mar 29 - We're up in Virginia visiting the fam right now. This morning, Shana and I did the Smithfield sprint triathlon. Today was not the ideal day to do a triathlon! When I woke up this morning and looked at the weather, the temperature in Smithfield at 10am (when the race started) was 44 degrees, with a feels like temperature of 37. Awesome. So anyways, the race was pretty good. It was freezing which I expected and it was a bit of a comedy in transition as we're all putting on all these clothes we normally wouldn't in a race like this. My swim was pretty bad; have no idea why - I felt good but just couldn't push it very hard. Luckily it was so short it didn't really matter. I got onto the bike and wow was it windy. I don't know how it's possibly, but I swear we had a headwind the entire way. I felt good and was in first by this point (as far as I could tell anyways, since it's a time trial start). Then onto the run where my feet were numb for the first mile. I finally felt comfortable the last mile and turned in a split of 18:48 which was faster than that stupid 5k a couple of weeks ago! I love these short sprints :) Shana did great and finished 7th overall and first in her age group. We did some shopping later and then had dinner at Outback which was great because I got to drink some Boag's and Toohey's New - some yummy Aussie beer :)

Mar 26 - Way to go John! Not dead last at all, and not bad for being the old fart of the meet :) Funny thing, Marty and I were killing our brain cells watching 'Epic Movie' on HBO while he swam his race. This is one of those horrible spoof movies, and the main story revolves around the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia." Marty and I bought the bootleg version of "The Chronicles of Narnia" before it came out in the theatre from some street market in the Philippines, and we watched it with John and Bron when we were in Australia. None of us really liked it, come to think of it. Anywho! This weekend I'll be competing in my first triathlon of the season in Virginia. This is a fast and furious sprint starting with a 300 yard pool swim. The weather had been looking good (70's) until I checked today and it was totally different - high of 58 and showers! Argh. The race doesn't start until 10am, but with the high only being 58, I will have to develop a good gear plan. I know in a short race transitions are important, but its the first race of the season and I don't want to be miserable :) I glanced at the entry list and have never raced against anyone so I have no idea how I'll stack up. I am looking forward to getting rid of the rust!

Mar 23 - The swim crazy Aussie's are having their Olympic Trials this week and you can bet that it's on prime time television. Our good friend John Bates has qualified for the SIXTH time!! John and his wife Bronwyn let us stay with them our first two weeks in Australia before they found us an apartment and booted us out :) They are heavily featured in our trippin '06 blogs, and came to visit us this past October. John is also an entrepreneur and is CEO of My Photo Inventory. John first qualified for the Aussie Olympic Trials in 1988, and has been back every 4 years - now that is quite an accomplishment! He's swimming the 50 meter free on Thursday (I think). This site looks like it'll be posting live results. His main goal is to not come "dead last" and we'll be cheering for him across world. Go Batesy!

Mar 20 - I had to switch a couple of my workouts around this week because of the weather, so I ended up running at lunchtime at work yesterday afternoon. It's nice to have a shower at work when I have the opportunity to take a longer lunch break. My next workout was tonight, another run, but this time with some hard efforts. Timing can be everything when scheduling, and because I ran at lunch yesterday and didn't do anything again until this evening, I essentially had a day off. My legs were definitely happy with my decision! My workout this evening was a simulated track workout. See, I don't like to do any of my workouts on an actual track anymore. I think it's because I've done SO many track workouts in my life. You tell me to hit a pace and I can hit it spot on. No problem. The thing is, I don't run track races anymore. And I was finding that even though I was having some great track workouts, they weren't translating to the road. So I started doing all of my workouts as fartleks - and usually on the rolling hills of the Umstead bridle trail. This way I go by effort and can't be worried about the pace, much like in a race. In a lot of my races, I won't use a watch at all. The feedback it can provide - positive or negative - is not something I want to worry about. I just want to race! Go hard! Keep it simple. It may be easier for me than it is for others because I've never been a slave to the numbers. I haven't even had a computer on my bike for almost 2 years now. I do think the numbers can be important, but there are also a lot of times when it's best to ignore them and just go.

Mar 18 - Talk about putting things into perspective - One of my blogging friends was in a not so serious bike crash that ended in some pretty serious injuries (broken sacrum, fractured pelvis, ribs fractured). She was on the fast track for some great racing and had been training hard core for awhile. It's a pretty big bummer, and it makes me even more mad that I've been so whiney lately about my training and racing! No more! I'm going to have fun and be satisfied with whatever the outcome - and be glad that I'm out there. I know Marit wants to be out there and it's not fair for something like that to happen - so I'm done complaining. Not much else to report - except for some more bad mothering skills I had last week with Tassie (you can read her update for her version), here's mine: Tassie sleeps in her crate downstairs, but we never lock her in, we just shut the door. She has never come out, even when the door swings wide open if she accidentally bumps it. So one night last week she would not come in the house after I let her out at night. She just kept staring at me from the deck with a toy in her mouth. Later on in the middle of the night she was all of the sudden in our bedroom! And she was all wiggly and excited...I was not. I was very annoyed and even though she ran right to the back door, I made her go back in her crate and I locked her in! Remember now, she was VERY excited and I thought she wanted to play, and she loves to play outside. So the next morning when we come down to let her out, wouldn't you know it she had some diarrhea. She was good though and did that in one corner and then slept in the other so she didn't mess herself up. I felt so bad as you can imagine! She had done exactly what she should've and was such a good girl and what do I do? I lock her in! Bad mom! Still not even close to being ready for kids apparently!

Mar 16 - It's a new day and it's time for me to gain some perspective! I don't want to be that athlete who is constantly disappointed with my results. My chip time yesterday was 18:58 and this not a bad time. Yes, it's off what I'm capable of when I'm training more, but it's certainly not sucky or anything :) I'm still happy I'm out there and able to compete and I should never take that for granted. Staying positive mentally is still a huge component to anyone's training and I apparently need to work more on that at this point in time. This morning Marty and I rode with Alysia and her friend Leigh, and then we did a short t-run off the bike. It was a nice ride in nice weather and we had a nice time ;) Last night we went up to my co-workers house for a get together because Friday was actually her last day - she is due to give birth in 3 weeks and is going on permanent maternity leave. I'm really going to miss her, especially when I go in there Monday and don't see her in the office across from me. It was nice to make a good friend so fast at someplace that I haven't even been at too long - so I'm not thinking that we won't still be good friends which makes me feel not too sad.

Mar 15 - 5K this morning - never felt comfortable, 19 flat, kind of disappointed, new course from last year that I didn't like (probably because I didn't feel good), blah. Off to a party.

Mar 12 - Today when I got home from work, Marty and I dug out our mountain bikes and hit the greenways near our house. Yay to daylight savings time and spring time weather! I am still so amazed sometimes at how lucky we are with where we live now. The greenway picks up maybe 1 mile away from our house and heads right into Umstead State Park, following a small stream the entire way. It's almost totally covered in trees and is such a different environment than what we had near our place in Orlando. The afternoons are really warming up here which is very nice, although I'm sure we will still have our handful of cold days. It is still pretty chilly in the morning, but when the high gets close to 70, you really can't complain. This weekend Marty and I are running in the Run for the Oaks 5k. Last year I ran quite fast for myself, but was in much better shape! This year is much different for me with the amount of time I have available to train and it's obviously hard to not be disappointed with performances even though I KNOW I logically shouldn't be. I think a lot of us get used to a certain expectation we have for ourselves. It's been a constant struggle for me the past few months, but I'm trying to come to terms with it and be satisfied with whatever I can do. I know that I will do my best, and my best could be much different than other performances - learning to be happy with whatever result is a work in progress. But I'll get there.

Mar 9 - Huh, I know I updated this week, but it looks in fixing the broken link to get to my links page (haha) some of my entries got lost. Too bad, I'm sure they were absolutely riveting. So this weekend was nice, and its now Sunday night which is always a bit sad since that means another week of work is upon us. Yesterday Marty and I swam then went to see the movie Juno, which was really good. We both enjoyed it even though I know Marty wasn't looking forward to it as much as I was - I think he was pleasantly surprised. Today we did a broken brick which was pretty tough (especially since it felt like 30 degrees when we started) but we both finished up right and smiling (that it was over). Marty is at Best Buy right now picking up a new controller for the PS2 our brother-in-law gave him. I'm not planning on seeing my husband for at least week now.

Mar 7 - Yesterday was so nice that I decided to blow off my easy trainer ride and Marty and I took Tassie to the local park near our house. We were able to find an area that had a large grassy field sectioned off that went right up to the lake. Tassie was beyond excited to run around like a crazy Tasmanian devil but we were not anticipating her charging into the lake to chase the geese! She could run out pretty far (up to her belly) since it is shallow for quite aways. When she was in the water, an interesting phenomenon happened – she forgot her name. We finally got her out of the water and walked a little further with her off the leash, but her excitement was too great so we had to leash her back up. Then she started doing spins. There were a lot of people at the park, with their kids and dogs, but we were the only ones with a dog on a leash who kept spinning.

Mar 1 - About a year ago, I started a contract job at a company in the area. It was not a good environment and employee morale was low. The job was not interesting to me and a guy I had to deal with a lot (although I never actually met him) named Joseph Joseph was not a nice man. After a few months there I started looking for other jobs and soon I had a couple of interviews with a company here in Cary, R.H. Donnelly. I had heard good things about this company from some friends who had lived in the area for awhile, the person who would be my boss seemed pretty great, benefits were real nice, and it was literally about a 5 min drive from our house. I had one phone interview and then an in person interview - of which I thought went pretty well. I figured I must have been pretty close to getting the job because the last person I met with went through all their benefits and things of that nature. But I didn't get it and I was pretty upset. Rejection can be hard, especially when it deals with something you really want and thought you had done a good job to get. In the end I got that contracting job at Glaxo then got the full time job offer at RTI which I plan on staying at for quite awhile. But back to R.H. Donnelly. A few months after my letdown, I started to hear that they weren't doing as good as they had thought they would with projected earnings. Back in the summer their stock was trading around $80. This week it went down to $6! I guess there is truth to the saying that everything happens for a reason. I'm glad to be at a much more stable company.

Feb 26 - I flew back into RDU early Monday morning and went right into work which consisted of meeting after meeting and trying to get through the seemingly endless emails I had aquired. I didn't get home until well after 7:00. I'm at an offsite training class today and tomorrow which is actually interesting and very helpful with my job, but it means that I'm essentially not at work for another 2 days. I'm so far behind and I finally had to admit that the girls weekend in SC was not going to happen for me. Saying I'm sad is a bit of an understatement, but the reality is I have a lot of work to do this weekend and I can't ignore it.

Feb 24 - The lack of updates have been due to the lack of internet and the lack of computer time! We finished up our camp this afternoon in Clearwater and we had a great time. We had such a fun group of people and I'm always a little sad when the camps end and everyone goes back their separate ways. Last night turned into quite a party after some lectures and dinner. We got in some great training, a 10K road race and open water swims and running. The weather was pretty good - so hot already down here! The 10K we did yesterday was soooo humid. It was ridiculous. We had all ridden very long the day before on the Suncoast Parkway and had a massive tailwind going out which of course means a massive headwind coming back in. Great practice for the handful of people who will be doing IM Arizona in April. Needless to say, no one ran the 10K very fresh but everyone survived. I even pulled out a 5th place finish and won some $$ which is always nice! The time was certainly nothing to write home about :) Anyways, now I'm at my mom's trying to catch up on everything. I fly out early tomorrow and will head right into work where I have a lot of stuff to do. It will be another busy week!

Feb 19 - Here's a picture of Marty and I finishing the duathlon together. He was in the middle of putting his arm around me at the line even though it looks like he's trying to grab my butt. I feel very lucky to be able to do this sport with him - and when we get days like these when we actually get to race together, I'm over the moon :)

So we have a website tracker and you can see what keywords get put into a search engine that are then directed to our site. Marty’s name gets searched everyday and mine occasionally (usually after a race). But seriously – who did it? Who searched Brianna Gaal? Where did you find my name spelled with an ‘A’ at the end? That is not my name! I get that all the time and it drives me insane. It’s Brianne with an E. Even at work when my name is clearly spelled out in my email, I’ll get a response from someone, “Hi Brianna” How does this happen? And why when I’m introduced as Brianne, 50% of the people will then call me Brianna? I just don’t get it.

Someone also searched ‘Brianne Gall’ which makes me laugh. My sister-in-law told me before I married Marty how I would now always have to spell my new last name. “G-A (pause) A-L. No, 2 A’s, 1 L.” She wasn’t kidding, that is exactly what happens almost everytime I spell my last name. It also reminds me of the time when Marty and I had one of our MBA classes together. We weren’t married so my last name was still Harrington. We got into groups for yet another group project (if you ever get your MBA, you will have an infinite number of group projects). We all wrote our email addresses down and one of the guys said he would just send one email out and copy everyone so we would have everyone’s ready as a distribution list. The next day or so I got the email but when I asked Marty, he said he never got it. When we went to the next class Marty asked if he had been included on the email and the guy replied, “yeah, but I had to correct your email address because I thought you had spelled your last name wrong. So I changed it to" We were both like, what?! He thought Marty had misspelled his own last name? And yes, that dude did get his MBA. Wow, I sure am chatty tonight! Probably because I've been all alone here for the past two days. Only 24 more hours before I leave on a jet plane to head down to Florida.

Feb 18 - We're running a triathlon camp in Clearwater, Florida this week and I'm very excited to get down there. It starts on Wednesday but I'm not flying in until Wednesday night because I couldn't miss too much work. The weather looks like it's going to be awesome and it will be great to get in some solid training and open water swimming. We have I think 16 or so people signed up and it's looking like a fun group. This training will hopefully help me because the following weekend I'm going to South Carolina to meet up with some other triathletes for a mini-training camp. These girls are seriously fast and it will be tough keeping up - but it sounds like we are going to have a really great time together. I have actually not met any of them even though I have raced against a few of them - I only know them through the internet. I'm also missing the first day of that camp because of work. Work sure is getting in the way of my hobbies ;) But these girls are such studs that they have named this long weekend Camp HTFU (harden the 'freak' up!). I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and having a good time.

Feb 17 - We had a great time at Tyler's Tap Room last night with a bunch of our tri friends. Marty is the team's social coordinator so he organized the get together and I think everyone had a lot of fun. This afternoon I went for a 2.5 hr ride with Alysia - we hit some hills and both complained about how much our legs hurt from the duathlon yesterday. Now I'm hoping to get some laundry folded. Our house is an absolute mess because Marty and I are both so busy. I'm the one now trying to juggle work, training, and coaching a few people. I have no idea how you people with kids do it all!

Feb 16 - We're driving back from the duathlon right now. It was a fun, hurting time :) I felt surprisingly good on the first run and came in around 18:40 or something. I didn't think I'd be able to run that fast, but running always comes back to me quickly. The bike on the otherhand was pretty pitiful! I had no power and even though my brake was rubbing a bit, I don't think it would've made much of a difference. Time to start doing some workouts. I also realized on the bike that I haven't done a brick yet - this should be fun! My teammate JoAnna powered by me pretty early on like I was going backwards - she is so strong already! Marty almost caught me towards the end of the bike, and I waited just a few seconds in transition so we could do the final run together. I thought it would be much more enjoyable to run with him than gap him by 50 yards or whatever and run by myself. So we chatted a bit and tempoed the last 2 miles. We crossed the line together finishing with the exact same time to the tenth of a second - retaining our competitive couple cuteness ;)

Feb 13 - This Saturday Marty and I are doing a duathlon (along with several of our teammates). It's a 5K run, 14 mile bike, 2 mile run and it's guaranteed to HURT! I have not done a bike workout since last October, and I'm totally not exaggerating here. I'm looking forward to the pain, though, and it will force me to get out of my comfort zone for the first time all year. Better late than never, hah! The duathlon is in Winston-Salem, which is where Wake Forest University is (about a 2 hr drive from here). Luckily, the race is at 11am, so we don't have to get up super early. Just a little history lesson for you free of charge (you're welcome). Wake Forest University used to be in the city of Wake Forest, which is just north of Raleigh, but somewhere along the line big tobacco paid them a bunch of money to move to Winston-Salem. So now everyone gets confused about the city and university. But you won't. Have a good night.

Feb 10 - I'm feeling good! I must've had some sort of weird 48 hour flu bug - it knocked me out flat but it was over fast, thankfully. I started feeling better Friday night, just in time for the weekend. I swam very easy and slow at the Y on Saturday morning and was happy to run into a girl I swam with a few times last year. I had stalked her a bit seeing that she was a better swimmer than I was. I introduced myself one day and invited myself to swim with her. She was so nice and was training for her first half iron-distance (White Lake). We saw her and her husband at White Lake, but then I never saw her again. Everytime I went to the pool I would wonder if Kate would be there, but she never was. Now I know why - she is due to give birth in about a month and said her first trimester was pretty bad. She looked great and was still swimming quite fast (albeit in a brightly colored maternity suit!). I know so many people who are pregnant right now (but not me!).

In the afternoon I met up with some of my teammates to pick up trash around a popular road we ride on. Our team has adopted this stretch of highway and we even have a sign that says so. The trash picking up was actually fun and it made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile for the environment and others, not just myself. The sport of triathlon tends to be a bit self-indulgent and it was nice to give back. We did get mooned and a couple of the guys found some nudie magazines (and $21!) and one of our friends who happened to ride by and didn't realize it was us told me later he thought we were some prison work crew (!) It was still a fun time with the team and we were all happy we had such nice weather to do it in.

Feb 8 - I may have made some teenager's Friday night. I went to Kroger a little while ago because I really really wanted to bake something. I haven't been eating much the past two days because nothing has been very appetizing and I haven't been hungry. So I thought I may as well go with whatever my body was craving so I could get some caloric intake (of course I crave baked goods, not fruits or vegetables). So off I go, because today I can drive myself - which is not something I could say yesterday! And while I'm there I go down the beer aisle so I can pick out my Marty some tasty brew. I decide on an IPA I know he likes and proceed to checkout without getting carded (hrmph, I hate not getting carded). I wheel out of the store and put my re-usable grocery bags in the car, and then put my cart away in the cart bin. It isn't until I get home and begin to announce to Marty the beer I bought him when I realize I left the 6-pack in the cart. Doh! We head back over to Kroger but alas the 6-pack is not there. Woops. Hopefully, someone from the store saw it and brought it back inside before some young kids found it. I wouldn't want to be the one to ruin their beer taste at that young of an age. I mean, you have to start out with 'The Beast' and Natty Light before you can move up to an IPA, right? ;) I DID manage to ride my bike on the trainer this afternoon. Never you mind the stinkin' thing was telling me I was going 15 mph. And also never you mind that I had to lay down for half an hour after. Never you mind! What are you doing here anyways? Never you mind! Hee hee.

Feb 7 - This is so not fair. I'm sick - again. I was just sick like a month ago!! I've never gotten this sick so many times before; even when we were traveling the only time I got sick was leaving the Philippines, but that probably had more to do with some bad water than anything else. So I'm at home right now - luckily I have a work laptop so I can get onto the network and get things done. No training today as I can barely shuffle from the couch to the dining room table. Last night I had aches and pains ALL over my body and must've woken up about 20 times. So yesterday when I saw my boss at the end of the day (and she told me I didn't look that good), she mentioned that she thought there was mold in the building I sit in. Wait - WHAT? I'm allergic to everything - get me out of that building! The day did start off good, though, with Masters practice. At the end we were alternating fast/easy 100's and one of my lanemates had me go first because he wanted to try and catch me. Nothing like someone chasing you hard to get your butt moving, and I swam a 1:08 on the last one which is super-fast for me. He did catch me, timewise, but not enough to actually slap my feet or anything. The rest of the day spiraled downhill after that.

Feb 4 - We’re having absolutely gorgeous weather right now. Yesterday I met up with a teammate and some other guys for a 50 mile ride. This was by far my longest ride in many months, and even though we didn’t go too fast or anything, I was able to get moving in the few spots that we did pick it up. It was definitely a bit of a confidence booster – maybe I’m not in as bad a shape as I thought. It was in the 60’s and sunny – perfect riding weather. Today it’s sunny and warm and tomorrow they’re calling for record highs in the 70’s! This is what I’m thankful for living in NC – although we get some pretty cold days (relative to my Florida blood), we get these nice reprieves. And yes, it does get pretty stinking hot here in the summer, but just for a short time. That same stinking hot drags on for months in Florida. And I like that we have four seasons now – leaves changing, maybe a day or two of snow, and then spring time filled with yellow pollen (boo). Anyways, I’m definitely going to make my best effort to leave work at a decent time tomorrow so I can get a nice run in at Umstead and enjoy the warmth before our next cold front comes through.

Feb 2 - Rookie trail runner mistake #1: Bad shoes. Although I really love these running shoes (not the color - that I could do without), check out the bottoms - could I have worn a slicker sole?! No wonder I was sliding all over the place this morning. These shoes belong on the road, or at the worst, a nice easy trail. Not at a tough, wet, rocky trail. Duh.

Feb 2 - This morning Marty and I were up at 4:00am so we could meet Rob, Cid and Douglas to carpool down to Uwharrie National Forest (yes, I was also in the car, even though Marty failed to mention that in his update...). We had a nice time heading down to the race and without making any wrong turns got there very early. Marty, Rob and Cid all did the 20mile and Douglas and I opted for the 8mile. Based on my experience from The Little River run, I knew I was not a very good trail runner, so started off easy and was viewing it as a long run in a different place. You immediately climb a big rocky hill and everyone ahead of me was walking which was super annoying! I guess I started too far back. I found Joanna from the tri team and ran behind her until the first aid station (just over 4miles). I even snuck in a quick pee break and didn't waste too much time (I really had to go!). I was quite content to run behind Joanna who was setting a nice comfy pace, but decided to go ahead and run a bit harder the last part. Everyone thought that the aid station was at mile 5 - and realizing it wasn't after running hard for awhile was a bit disconcerting but I felt good so no worries. Let me tell you this: I SUCK at the downhills! They were slippery, rocky, rooty and to make matters worse, completely covered in leaves. I would scurry up the up hills and then tip toe down the downhills like a little sissy. Ah well, had a lot of fun leapfrogging back and forth with several people because of it. Lots of records were broken today because the weather was nice, but I still thought the trail was a tough one. I ended up finishing as the 4th girl (total surprise to me!). Marty and the boys did great in the 20mile, too.

Jan 29 - Today is my niece's 3rd birthday, and yesterday was my friend Bronwyn's birthday (wish I had gotten to celebrate with her in our old town Collaroy, New South Wales!) This morning I got up way early so I could get an hour on the trainer. Although Marty said he might get up with me, he promptly rolled back over and went back to sleep when my alarm went off. Then I went downstairs, fed Tassie, let her outside and hopped on the bike. Tassie looked at me and then SHE went back into her crate and fell back asleep, too. Where's the love?? So I watched one of my DVR'd 'What Not to Wear' episodes and pedaled away.

Jan 27 - Marty has been gone since Wednesday but he comes back tonight (yay!). He went down to hammer out some logistical details for the triathlon camp we're putting on in Clearwater in a month. I'm very excited about the camp and all the people who are coming to it. It will be a lot of fun and we'll get some great training in.

I've been keeping myself busy, though, so the time has gone by pretty fast. Yesterday morning I got up and swam the 3000 yard workout I had given to the Master's squad on Friday. It was a good one and I felt like I had a pretty good workout. A little while later, Alisha met me for a bike ride. We stuck around Cary and road up and down a pretty hilly section a few times for some strength work. My bike fitness is not that good right now and I knew I needed to get some time in the saddle on the hills. The time flew as she talked my ear off, which is great :) Later that night we went over to Melissa & Dave's for a belated birthday party for Melissa. On my way home Marty called me surrounded by a bunch of our friends at a bar in Orlando. He passed the phone around and I got to say hi to everyone. I really do miss all of them. As much as we like it up here in NC for literally everything, the one thing that is missing is the great group we had down there. Then this morning I went to Umstead to enjoy the Turkey Creek loop. This hilly course is great, and although I had to really work the tempo part of my workout and felt like I was running through quick sand, I managed to turn in a pretty decent time. Now I'm going to clean up and get some quality time in with Tassie. Even though she is Princess Tassie from Tasmania, she is resembling a sheep from New Zealand right now. Thankfully we have a grooming appointment set up for her on Tuesday. And by the way - Happy Belated Australia Day!

Jan 24 - I really enjoy going to Master's swimming in the morning. My lane mates definitely keep me honest - on Wednesday I was unsure about the interval for some 400's and they basically told me to shut up and of course I could do it (they said it nicer than that, but that was the gist). My times are pretty good for this time of the season (for myself). But I'm basically able to swim intervals that I was only able to swim last year when I had gotten into good swim shape. I've found that at almost every Master's practice I've been to (here and in Australia) the lanes are typically the same, and I'm always in the same one. You've got the ex-collegiate swimmers who are still pretty serious in the fast lane. Next you have ex-collegiate swimmers who haven't swum in a long time, or ex-high school swimmers. The ex-high school swimmers sometimes start off in the next lane, but they quickly get up to speed to move into their real lane. The next lane is my lane. It is the lane of people who know how to swim pretty good, but are just never as fast as the ex-collegiate or ex-high school swimmer. We're faster than most triathletes who have never swum before but not 'real-swimmer' fast. This lane is comprised of people like me who swam on summer league as a kid but then never again. Or the lucky people who started swimming as an adult and picked it up pretty easily. And the next lanes go on down from there. People can float in and out lanes, and sometimes there are more than one of these lanes, but this is the basic set-up. The lane above me will move into my lane when they want an easy day and vice versa.

I'm pretty good at seeding myself when it comes to Master's because I figured this scheme out early on. The good thing with my current lane is that we've all gotten a bit faster since starting so our send-off has gone down. It makes such a difference swimming with other people! Tomorrow, though, I'm the coach since Marty is down in Florida, so I'll be swimming by myself over the weekend. I don't mind though - I enjoy coaching, too.

Jan 22 - I was updating my site in Virginia and our friends got a nice laugh at our expense when they saw what we use for our website. See, I don’t know much about this stuff, but I’m clever enough to copy and paste and figure out some code so I can sit here and make updates, link to websites, and put up pictures. Marty started this website back in the 90’s using ftp. I think this type of html server (or is it program? I told you I don’t really know this stuff) was popular before he started using it, so it is pretty much ancient now. It’s not a simple, write an update and press a button. You have to make sure you have the correct code around the update (lots of brackets, random letters, and specific spacing). The entire site is very old school looking, which we kind of like, but really it would just be too much work to try and get everything out of this and move it to more of a blog type site. Like I said this weekend, Marty’s website was a blog before the word blog was even invented! Who else do you know was making updates before Y2K? Not me, but Marty was! One thing I wish I had was the ability for people to make comments, like I see on other people’s blogs. I feel like my page does not have any friends :) The other thing is we can’t be an RSS feed, or link to RSS feeds or whatever that is (again, not really on top of this stuff…). But someone said this weekend that they don’t even read sites unless it has an RSS feed and they know it has been updated. Hopefully, not everyone feels like that, or our site could slowly drop off the blog readers view.

Jan 21 - It was very neat to be driving back into town and see SNOW still on the ground! I don't think I will ever not get excited about getting snow since that just wasn't part of my life growing up. When we got home we both had several things to take care, not to mention unpacking and doing laundry (which is still on the to-do list). Marty mentioned he didn't feel like running early on, but around 4:30 I decided I still wanted to so I went upstairs and pleaded with him to go with me. After 7.5 years, he does almost everything I ask so after moaning and groaning a bit he got dressed :) It is pretty cold up here but it was still a nice run. About 10 minutes into it we heard a very fast moving dog coming up behind us. We both turned around - I was definitely scared seeing this large animal sprinting full force at us - but all Marty did was raise his finger with a stern look on his face and the dog literally stopped in his tracks, turned around and ran back the other way! Marty's superhero name could be Mr. Stops Dogs in His Tracks (anyone watch Whose Line Is It Anyways?) The power could really come in handy on the bike when we're on the back country roads...

Jan 20 - It's Sunday night and we're still up in Wintergreen, Virginia. We had such a great time up here with our friends - Aaron and fiancee Casey, Alisha and husband Joe, and Dave - without wife Melissa :( Marty has turned into a really great skier (family members will remember his tantrum at Whistler several years ago - he's nothing like that now). He spent most of his time over on the black diamonds. Yesterday wasn't too cold but today it was frigid! It was great skiing, though - nice groomed slopes and not much ice. Alisha snowboarded and I skied, and we spent most of the time together as we both are decent but have no desire to go too fast and do anything too stupid. So we made good partners and everyone else got to tackle the more difficult stuff. It was also nice because we haven't been able to hang out as much as we use to since we both have full-time pretty demanding jobs now. Anyways, everyone left this afternoon except for Marty, Dave and I, and the three of us went back over to do some tubing which was SUPER FUN! I felt like a 10 year old and am so glad we bought tickets. So it was a great ski weekend shared with great people.

Jan 17 - On my way home from work this evening, I decided to stop by the grocery store to get some essentials for our ski weekend (and Tassie needed more food). I figured I would be an awesome wife and also picked up one of Marty's favorite six-pack's of beer and some Purple Haze for me (my favorite beer). I said I was getting essentials, right? :) Well, never underestimate Marty in planning for a weekend - I walked in the door and he had already gotten two 12 packs! He hadn't picked up anything else, so I guess he figures bringing beer would get us through a-okay.

Jan 15 - Marty and I cheered the Giants onto victory this past weekend at our friend Alysia's house. Neither one of us are big fans or anything, but her and her husband are so we figured we'd get into the spirit. We're not going to be paying much attention to the games this weekend because we're going skiing! We're going to check out Wintergreen in Virginia with some of our friends. We went to Snowshoe last year (in West Virginia) and had a lot of fun. I'm very excited about this mini vacation, especially since work has been so busy lately.

Jan 12 - We ran in the Little River Trail run this morning in north Durham. Marty ran the 9 mile and I ran the 3.5 mile. It was 95% all single track trails which was fun and different than doing the same old thing on the road. I'm probably a bit over cautious on the downhills or the slippery parts or the parts where there are a lot of rocks or roots (okay, I'm cautious about single track trails!). I don't see the sense in falling or twisting an ankle when I can try to be more careful. I was the 2nd female and got a very useful pencil head lamp as my award. I mentioned to Marty that I get second an awful lot - whether it's in triathlons or in running races. He said it's because I'm talented but not as dedicated as the people who usually win races. Unfortunately, I guess he's right. I know I'm fairly dedicated to triathlons and running and all that, but not like the go-to person who you can pretty much bet on that they will win. And I'm actually okay with this :) The sports are a lot of fun and I get quite a bit of enjoyment out of training and competing. Anyways, we got in a swim after the race (after gulping down some Bojangles) and now we're trying to figure out what to do with our Saturday night.

Jan 10 - It's been another busy week but I have been getting in more consistent training which is good. I've been making friends with my bike trainer and I'm really addicted to Ninja Warrior on G4. I really love Makato Nagano and Bunpei Shiratori. They are amazing! And this week they've been doing the women of Ninja Warrior - and I totally wish I could try it :) Although, the women's courses are mostly about balance, and I don't really know how good my balance is. The guys obstacles are typically arm strength, and the things they are able to do are unbelievable.

Jan 7 - Tonight I met a group from the Godiva Track Club for 6+ mile run that starts right near my work. I didn't know anybody, which is a bit tough for me since I quickly revert to an introvert in groups like these, but I went out there anyways and everyone was very nice. Great little group to run with and I will definitely be back. It sure beats running by myself on the treadmill! I ran in shorts and t-shirt tonight - this weather is so weird.

Jan 6 - Nice weekend up here. It got very cold this past week but now we're back to above average temps and it should be a nice week. I didn't really notice the cold to be honest since I'm inside all day anyways. Yesterday I rode with Marty for part of his long ride. I ended up riding for almost 2.5 hours which is the longest I've done in a very long time and I could really feel it the last few miles as I limped home. Then I did a longish run this morning which was very slow. I know I have to keep chugging through this time to get back to where I'm feeling in shape again, but boy does it stink at the moment. I'm pretty much over the cold or whatever I had; still have some residiual crud every morning, but that's about it. Wow, my updates are boring.