About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm Only Human

The Today Show is broadcasting live from New Orleans for Mardi Gras. All is well with the world! I can't believe today is Mardi Gras. Where is this year going? I'm a good little Catholic girl(yes, I'm fully aware of the irony in that statement), which means that tomorrow is also the beginning of the Lenten season. This is the 40-day period before Jesus' Death and Resurrection...and before Peter Cotton Tail comes hopping down the bunny trail. During this time, we're asked to sacrifice and give something up as a symbol of Jesus' suffering and temptation from the Devil. I'm not sure it's what Jesus had in mind when you hear about people giving up candy, skydiving or Diet Coke...Oh the sacrifice!! Oh well, we're human. We can only do so much. I've decided to give up alcohol. However, in true Catholic form, I have an exception. I'm going skiing in Colorado this weekend with some girlfriends and I've declared myself exempt from my Lenten promise from Friday through Wednesday. So much for true sacrifice! Oh well, I'm human. I don't drink a lot, but let me just say that I LOVE WINE. For me, giving up alcohol is perfect. The Boston Marathon is the day after Easter. What better way to celebrate Easter and the completion of that race than with my first glass of wine in over 6 weeks! At least I'll be a cheap drunk. Shawn will dig that. Plus, it will be good for my training, right? I'll feel lighter. I'll wake up easier. I'll sleep better. I'm trying to convince myself of these things, my friends...

Perhaps next year I'll give up exercise since that would be a TRUE sacrifice. Nope, won't happen. I'm only human and I'm all I have.

Enjoy your "Fat Tuesday" and earn those beads baby! Tonight, I'll be enjoying my last glass of wine until Post-Boston Marathon (well, actually, until this weekend, but hey--I'm only human.)

Workout: 5:45 am Spin Class followed by 15 minutes on the treadmill (1.6 miles) It was this year's first true "brick" workout of bike/run back-to-back.

6am 2 bottles of water at gym
7:20am Mixture of cereals 1 1/2 cups (Kashi Go Lean Crunch/Uncle Sams), 1/2 banana, mixed fruit and organic yogurt on top of cereal. cup of coffee.
12:30pm Whole Wheat tortilla (50 calories) with chicken and hummus, apple, container of suger free jello chocolate pudding.water and diet Dr. Pepper.
2:30pm about 10 m&ms--I need CHOCOLATE!
4:15pm Whole Wheat tortilla with 1 teaspoon of organic PB and 1/2 banana, bottle of water with Crystal Lite Powder.
8:00pm Mardi Gras Blow Out Meal: 2 glasses of red wine, dinner salad with Balsamic Vinagerette. I left 95% of the croutons in the bowl. Shawn and I shared a Medium Mangia Pizza--thin whole wheat crust with spinach, sundried tomatoes and Canadian Bacon. I ate 3 pieces, but took lots of cheese off the pizza...Dessert baby. We split a chocolate chip cookie ala mode.

For some reason, I needed to be bad today. I'll blame it on my Aunt Flo coming to town this morning. Sorry guys.

Monday, February 27, 2006

All Systems A GO...For Today.

I was nervous about this morning's run. We were doing a "Boston Simulator" pace run that was over 10 miles. We started on South Lamar at 5:30am and ran 3 miles North to the trail. It's three miles of downhill. It's 3 miles of, "This isn't so bad." Of course, it's the last 7 that you have to look out for. That's also what I hear about the Boston Marathon. The first half is downhill and then you spend most of the 2nd half climbing your way out. I really wanted to go into this coveted marathon like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. I wanted to be surprised every step of the way, take my time, relish every mile, bask in the excitement. Coach Gilbert has other plans. Sure, he wants us to revel in the glory of success, but he also wants us to be prepared (maybe even OVER-prepared) and well-trained for the brutal course of the Boston Marathon.

I wasn't nervous because of the route and I wasn't nervous because of the mileage. I was nervous because my quads were pretty sore from Saturday's deep tissue work and a 26.5 mile bike ride on Sunday. Shawn and I had a wonderful day on Sunday that started with our final official Swim Class. Later that afternoon we had to attend a birthday party for our friend's 2-year-old son. Because it was FINALLY beautiful in Austin again, we decided to ride our bikes instead of driving. What a fun decision. I'm still getting used to my new bike and the seat still isn't right, but I'll continue to tweak and fine-tune my fitting.

I was also nervous about not being able to keep up with the others. Hills aren't my strength and I didn't want my weakness magnified in the company of so few runners. In any event, we were fairly conservative on our first few miles. 8:25, 8:19, 9:23, 8:36. We then hit the all too familiar Town Lake Trail portion of the run. It was darker than usual this morning. Of course, we started earlier than usual as well. I was feeling a bit tired and a little apprehensive about what was yet to come--the hills. 8:10, 8:17 OK hills--ready or not, here we come. I love the Barton Hills neighborhood because you get some amazing city views. Plus, streets are wide, houses are beautiful and it's very serene. Neighbors are out for their morning walk with their dog and they actually greet runners. For the most part, I hung right in there. Amy and Anne never really got more than 10 yards away from me at any given time. Are they just being kind? Are they pushing it as much as I am? I've run these hills many times before, but I've never really RUN these hills for pace before. This run is going surprisingly well. 8:14, 7:49, 8:17, 8:24, 8:22 (last .15) I countdown the last four hills. The church where we usually break for water--and a prayer :-) is empty...no powerade. The last four hills come in quick succession with each one being a little more difficult than the next. There isn't much recovery time. I haven't run with a heart rate monitor in a long time. Not only are they uncomfortable for me, but they've also hindered some of my performances on occassion. I keep pushing up the last hill and can feel that lactic acid heaviness. At last, I've made it and Amy and Anne are right there about 5 yards in front. I didn't fall back. I kept right up with them. Needless to say, I was a little relieved to know that they were tired as well.

We finished strong and all agreed that, although it was tough, we were all very happy with today's results because it shows how far we've come. Last summer, I remember walking some of those hills. I remember falling behind. Today, we were right on our Marathon Pace Target and we actually had a negative split. Today, I passed a huge Boston test. Today, I felt like I truly deserved to be among the participants of the 110th Boston Marathon.

The "Boston Simulator" worked. All systems are a go. T-Minus 50 days until Big Day.

5:00am Piece of whole wheat bread with PB and 1/2 banana
8:00am-8:30am Chicken, Stir Fry veggies, Buckwheat Soba noodles...I know it's not "breakfast food," but it was left over dinner from last night and has a near perfect carb/protein ratio for a post-tough run. Weird craving...Coffee and bottle of water.
11:30am 1/2 cup of dry kashi cereal
1:00pm Lunch at Castle Hill Cafe with some girlfriends. Lunch consisted of a fabulous Interior Mexican Salad complete with mixed greens, black beans, corn, chicken, tortilla strips and an empanada on the side...1/2 container of Sugar Free jello pudding
5:00pm cup of dry kashi cereal
8:00pm Spinach salad and whole wheat pasta with chicken. 1/2 glass of red wine

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I'm Keeping Score

Today was made for lounging. Today was made for lying on the couch, reading a book, watching a movie, catching the Olympics. Today was made for a nice massage. That's what the angel on my shoulder was telling me at 5:15am when the alarm beeped me out of slumber on my new tempurpedic neck pillow.

And then, his brother the devil showed up at 5:15:01. He spoke loud and clear. "Time to get up girlfriend. You've got a 12 miler this morning." The devil didn't seem to care that it was raining. He didn't seem to care that Shawn was next to me and my cat had nestled onto my head. It was Saturday and it's a long run day. "Ok, Ok," I said. "You win again. Besides if I decided to sleep in, you'd only torture me for the rest of the day." Score one for the devil.

The devil has a way of doing that. Our run was pretty uneventful, except for the spattering of intermittent rain. I wasn't running particularly well at first, but I just kept telling myself that it was only 12 miles. My legs felt stiff even though I hadn't actually run in two days. I just kept telling myself to get through since I had a deep tissue massage scheduled for 2pm.

I got back home and finished coffee and breakfast by 10am. Oh lord, I've got downtime. What do I do with that? The angel very calmly whispered, "Take a nap, Carrie. It's ok. Allow yourself the freedom to just relax." Meanwhile, the devil had other plans for me. "Carrie, you only ran 12 miles today. Get your ass to the gym and go to spin class, lift weights, keep sweating. Don't be lazy. Look at your pretty bike on the wind trainer. Get some riding in today." Score one for the angel. As loud as the devil was, I heeded the advice of my angel and took an hour-long nap.

I think it was the devil who woke me up and said, "You've got too much stuff to do today. Get up and get something accomplished. You can't lay around all morning and then justify a massage!" Score one for the devil. I got up and did the mundane tasks of living alone... 3 loads of laundry, mopping the kitchen floor, vaccuuming the carpet, paying some bills, emptying the dishwasher. Jesus, I'm starting to sound like Cinderella.

My massage was painfully wonderful. I tried a new person on Thon's recommendation and I wasn't disappointed. It was a great mixture of Deep Tissue/Sports and Therapeutic. I wasn't in my Zen-mode, but I wasn't in pain either. It's about time I took care of myself. Score one for the angel.

"Oh Carrie, " Damn, it was the devil again. "You've got to go to the grocery store and make some snacks for Richard's party tonight. Plus, you've got to look for a birthday gift for that other party tomorrow. Don't go home and watch a movie. Get to the grocery store. Score one for the devil.

The grocery store is always an interesting battle between good and evil. Tonight's party is a bit of a post-marathon bash and a simultaneous viewing of "The Aristocrats" movie. Honestly, the goal is to eat lots of crappy food and drink lots of alcohol. Will I do that?? Who knows. I tried to buy really bad food, but here's what I came home with: fat free chicken, reduced fat crescent rolls, fat free cream cheese (all for my low-fat version of yummy chicken salad rolls) and Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Score one for the angel.

Today was one of those relaxing, yet busy days. The days where you feel refreshed because you've rested and gotten a lot of tasks accomplished. In my book, that's another point for the angel.

For those keeping score: ANGEL 4, DEVIL 3
You suck Devil. Now, go to hell. (wait...you're already there)

Workout: 12 miles with Amy, Ann and Gretchen
Runtex to scenic, back to Congress 6:00am in the rain, 8:35 overall pace

5:20am 1/2 piece of wheat bread with PB, 1/2 cup of oatmeal
9:30am coffee, cup of kashi Go Lean Crunch with mixed fruit and organic fat free yogurt
1:00pm I split a whole wheat tortilla in half and made one 1/2 fat free chicken salad and the other 1/2 turkey and hummus. Minute Maid Raspberry Juice.
4:30pm I was making chicken salad and was snacking to taste
8:00pm 2 of my small chicken salad croissants, about 20 tortilla chips with salsa, 1 sugar free chocolate chip cookie, Stoli Vanilla Vodka with fresca (highly recommended) and one margarita.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I miss Meg Ryan!

Where, oh where is the sunshine? It feels like months since we've had a visit. Of course, in reality, it's been like a week, but it feels like an eternity. I grew up in Ohio and, for the life of me, can't figure out how I endured 6 month-long winters! From November-April, it's pretty gloomy, cold, snowy and rainy. I love going home to Columbus for the week of Christmas to experience the obligatory "white Christmas"(and to see my wonderful family) and then I love high-tailing it back to Texas where the manger scenes are planted on green grass instead of cold snow.

I'm totally getting myself ready for Spring and taking care of some of those projects that just keep getting put on the backburner. Yesterday, I gathered up all of the winter clothes that I didn't wear this year and started my Goodwill pile. Some of the clothes have been around for a while and it's time to say, "Peace out." Of course, you always go through the, "Now, I know I haven't worn this Casual Corner sweater in about 6 years, but what if I want to wear it again?" Trust me...You won't. No one will. Casual Corner is out of business. Here's a good rule of thumb. If the store you bought the clothes from is no longer in business, throw the damn clothes away. I'm finally doing just that.

I FINALLY ordered a new cell phone yesterday because my old one broke when I fell while riding my mountain bike. The phone itself works, but the screen is on the fritz and I can't tell who's calling me and I can't look up anyone's numbers. How awful is it to live without Caller ID? What if someone is calling me and I don't want to talk to them?? It stresses me out everytime my phone rings since I don't know who it is! It's even more stressful when someone leaves me a message and says "Call me when you get a chance." Of course, they're assuming that I can see their number on my screen and now I'm paranoid that I'm going to be considered a snobby bitch to about 20 of my friends. Oh, the trials and tribulations of modern society. I'm also making a promise to throw out all of my old cell phones when the new one arrives. For some reason, I've saved every cell phone I've ever owned--yes, even the big clunky one that needed it's own tote bag. They, too, will be gone this weekend.

I got my Spring Haircut today. I got about 2 1/2 inches cut off the length and some layers put in. I like to think that I have the "Meg Ryan" look, but is that such a good thing anymore? That was, after all, her style in the early 90's when "Sleepless in Seattle" was all the rage. I'm not so sure how cool it is these days to have the "Meg Ryan" 'do when she played a boxer in her last box-office flop. Perhaps I should refer to the same haircut as the Reese Witherspoon or Charlize Theron cut even though neither one of of their styles even remotely look like mine. At least they're hip and cool.

Doesn't it always feel better when you tackle these Spring projects? You feel better and much less-cluttered. Plus, it makes room for the new crap that you are about to buy. C'mon sunshine. Show your face this weekend so that I don't have to mop my kitchen floor! I'd much rather be on my bike than on my hands and knees.

Workout: 6:50am-7:50am Bike Workout on My Trainer...5 min warmup, followed by 25x intervals of big chain ring effort. 1min on/1 min off (total riding time 55 min)

6:30am 1/2 slice of bread with PB, 2 bottles of water
9:30am cup of Kashi/Uncle Sam's mixed with 1/2 banana, blueberries and yogurt
2:15pm Garden Salad with Tuna, fat free Ranch, diet coke, water
8:00pm Dinner at Austin's Cosmic Cafe (Vegetarian Restaurant). I had chai tea and a tofu/veggie stir fry dish with a ginger sauce. The meal was great, but the sauce was rich. We also started with edamame and a cup of lentil soup with pita bread.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

No "Mom Jeans" for Me!!

No "Mom Jeans" for ME!!

I've never been a "dressy" kind of girl. I learned at an early age that having four big brothers and no sisters required me to be feisty and scrappy. Yep-I was a bigtime tomboy. I was always more comfortable in a football uniform than a dress. No Barbies for me. Hell, when you're being chased in the backyard by four brothers in a rousing game of neighborhood kickball, you can't be tripping over your Laura Ashley dress with patton leather shoes. You have to haul ass with the best of them!

To this day, I love wearing comfortable clothes without the confines of hosiery, suits and pointed high heel shoes. I, for all intensive purposes, am "a jeans girl." (Of course, that's not when I'm in spandex cycling shorts and cool max apparel.) I know I speak on behalf of most women when I talk about the difference between all of the jeans we own.

"Fat" jeans: These are larger-sized older jeans that just make us feel so very comfy. We'd wear them everyday if we could. They go well with the huge sweatshirt from college with Greek letters that we're still hanging onto. These jeans are particularly comfortable when you are in full-blown PMS-mode.

"Skinny" jeans: These only come out on special occassions when you are feeling particularly sexy. You bought them small on purpose with the hopes of fitting into them on a regular basis. They always feel a bit snug when you put them on, but after a while, you settle into them. You almost NEVER wash them because then you have to start from scratch again.

"Just In Case" jeans: I still own a pair of Black GUESS jeans. I last wore them when I was a freshman in high school in 1988! (I have a photo from a Taylor Dayne concert in these jeans) See, I went through a big-girl stage during and after college and I outgrew them. Those black GUESS jeans became the "I'm going to fit in these again someday" jeans. Well, it's been several years and not only are they almost 20 years old, but they are also freaking huge on me now! I want to throw them away, but I just can't. They represent how far I've come and I can't wait until Black GUESS jeans come back in style because I am set!

It's amazing how many different brands of jeans there are. I'm not the hippest cat in the litterbox, but I am familiar with some of the cool brands.

Lucky Jeans: Perfect name because you have to be lucky enough to be able to afford more than one pair. Same goes for Seven Jeans. The amount of numbers in your salary has to be at least seven to keep affording these. I'd love to be hip, but I'm also very practical. I'm more of a GAP jeans girl. They just fit me the best. I'm 5' 1" on a good day and their short length fits perfectly. They're the only jeans I've never had to get tailored and even when I was a size 14, their jeans still fit (even on this 5' 1" frame)!

The way I feel about my body changes on a daily basis. Somedays I feel so strong and athletic. Other days, all I can see is the belly goo that seems to protrude from my gut. My jeans are like my friends at these moments. Some give me comfort, room and compassion, while others are relentless and unforgiving, exposing every weakness. Some jeans make me feel bad about myself and others just make me feel bad-ass. No matter what kind of "body image" day I'm having, I'm thankful that I have a pair of jeans for any of them. I never know which "friend" I may have to pull out of the closet. I just hope that someday it's another pair of Black GUESS jeans and not "Mom Jeans!"

See attached photo and video from Saturday Night Live.

Workout: Core Class from 6p-7p, Swim class from 7:15p-8:30p

Nutrition (very hungry today for some reason!)
6am handful of Kashi
9:20am Kashi/Uncle Sams with yogurt and blueberries, bottle of water.
1:00pm spinach tortilla with green chili hummus and turkey and another bowl of Kashi/Uncle Sam's combo with 1/2 banana and yogurt
2:00pm Diet Coke
6:55p 100 cal balance bar
8:45p 3oz chicken breat, 1 cup veggie chili

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The 4 P's of Training

Me and My Perfect Training Partner

First of all, before I even get into the body of my blog today, let me just say that running is funny. My friend (and future Dallas White Rock Training Partner) Thon attempted to run the Freescale Austin Marathon this past Sunday. His was a saga that no words can describe. Well, maybe they can. Here is his brief story that aired on the local NPR Station today, as written and read by Thon himself. Freaking brilliant.

Now...The 4 P's of Training.

For some reason, I can regurgitate the 4 P's of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, Promotion.
Wow, I guess that degree paid off since I now have an illustrious career in advertising. As Amy and I were beginning our hellish workout this morning at 5:45am, we realized that training is a lot like sex. Don't ask how we got started on THIS tangent. Mom, if you're reading this, it's all what I've been told by others.

They also both also involve 4 P's:
1.) Partners
2.) Protection
3.) Preparation
4.) Planning

1.) Partners: One must have a good and compatible partner. In training, if you're partner is too fast or slow, it often affects the outcome of the workout. Either you're utterly exhausted or completely dissatisfied. Sometimes the workout is long and hard. Sometimes it's fast and over before you know it. The same holds true for sex. If your partner isn't compatible, bad things can happen. See above descriptions.

2.) Protection: As in sex, training should often involve some sort of protection. Due to a recent assault on the trail, Amy has resorted to carrying mace on our longer runs. We're protected. We also protect ourselves in other ways. Reflective clothes, knee braces...whatever we need to have a safe and fulfilling workout. Ahhh...protection during sex should never be overlooked so that both parties feel safe and secure at all times. I don't necessarily recommend mace, but to each his own. I shall not judge.

3.) Preparation: A good workout involves preparation. Have you chosen the right outfit? Did you remember to wear your HR monitor? Did you eat enough for breakfast? Most athletes are typically overprepared for any situation. If only the same held true for sex. Sometimes, preparation is difficult. However, it doesn't hurt to think ahead. Did I bathe and groom today? Have I had an adequate amount of alcohol? Did I bring extra clothes so that I don't have to do the walk of shame? Preparedness should never be overlooked.

4.) Planning: Sometimes planning goes awry in workouts, but that's ok. You learn to live with it. You can't account for an occassional flat tire, 20 mph wind gusts, freezing rain on Marathon morning. Along with a good plan, athletes should also have flexibility with that plan. Once again, the same holds true for a good romp. It's good to plan a nice romantice evening, but what the hell, sometimes it just happens wherever and we should be ok with that. As long as you are satisfied with the outcome, all is well.

So, the moral of my tangent is: Before you have sex with someone, take them on a long run first.

Today's Workout: 20 min warmup, 2 x 10 min at Marathon Goal Pace with 2 min jog in between, 3 x 5 min at Half-Marathon Goal Pace with 1 min jog in between, 10 x 1 min FAST with :15 job in between . We ended up going about 9 miles today once the workout was complete.

5:20am PBJ on Whole Wheat Bread
9:20am Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Uncle Sams with yogurt and blueberries, water and coffee
1:30pm Jerk Salmon Caesar Salad, diet pepsi and one container of Jello sugar free chocolate pudding, bottle of water
5:30pm 1/2 spinach tortilla with hummus (snack before dinner)
6:30pm 1/2 margarita, 1 glass Shiraz, couple of chips, dinner salad and 1 beef taco on whole wheat tortilla.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A New Definition of "PR"

I feel emotion. Boy, do I feel emotion. I don't always express it in an outward fashion, but there's always something going on in this little peabrain of mine. I don't like to just "go through the motions." Afterall, what is life without the ups and downs of happiness and subsequent sadness? I'll tell you what it is...It's death. I'm sure you've all experienced people in their life that go about their daily activities with the same routine. Same TV shows. Same meals. Same everything. While I'm definitely a creature of certain OCD habits (most training athletes are, are we not??) I attempt to do everything with emotion...with heart. It's exhausting, it's exhilarating, it's painful, it's joyous, it's worth it, it's so NOT worth it, it fills me with a sense of accomplishment and it makes me feel inadequate. Not matter what my accomplishment, I never really know my complete potential. There's always someone faster and that "someone" is usually the person inside of me that is constantly pushing me to the next event. Sometimes, I get so damn frustrated with myself because I never really let myself live in the moment. While I should be lavishing the fact that I'm going to Boston in 2-months to get my coveted jacket, I'm too busy with intense focus on every workout. Run harder. stretch. Eat Better. Sleep More. Work the Core. It doesn't help that I'm also simultaneously laying the groundwork for my June Half-Ironman. Instead of resting after a 20 mile training run, I'm thinking about a bike ride or a swim. Sometimes, I lose the "heart" of what I'm doing. I'm always searching for the next PR. It hit me today that I have to reframe my definition of "PR."

Instead of "personal record," my new definition of PR is now "personal revelation."

Somedays my new "PR" may not be a fast time at all. In fact, it may be the worst run ever, but as long as I live and train with "heart," every day will be a "PR" day for me.

Today, my "PR" was about trying to find balance in life. We always associate that with people who are workaholics--people who will work all hours of the day and still never feel like they're getting ahead. These are the same people that don't balance enough time with friends, family and fitness because they're always focused on work. It hit me as I was having my pre-swim workout glass of wine (not recommended) with my friends Kim of Texas Monthly Magazine and Jane from Kolar Advertising Agency that there is a such thing as being out of balance the OTHER way. Right now, at this point in my world, I feel like a workout-aholic. Everything comes second to the training regimen. Instead of having some idle time, I'm usually thinking of ways to fill it with a quick run or a quick weight session. I'm now on a mission for some balance. I want to spend more time with friends (and not a quick drink before the next workout--did I mention that I don't recommend it?), family and even work. I want to stay up past 10:00pm. I'm dying to see some live music again. This is Austin, afterall. Balance...the word itself brings me peace. Now, if only it would bring me a few more hours of the day so that I could find it.

Workouts: 6am 7 mile recovery run (8:40 pace), Swim workout with drills and a little pacing. (approx 1400m)


5:20am whole wheat with PBJ
9:20am oatmeal with Blueberrues, minute maid raspberry passion
11:30am apple, water
2:00pm two hummus/tabouli tacos, 1 whole wheat tortilla, side salad, diet coke
1/2 tall non-fat latte
5:15pm Glass of Shiraz and a couple or tortilla chips
6:45pm Old School Power Bar which became my dinner before Swim Class

Monday, February 20, 2006

Somedays I just feel so SLOW!

It was the day after the Freescale Austin Marathon and pretty much no one showed up at Runtex, including Coach Gilbert. Apparently, he had an incredibly rough marathon yesterday and I later learned that he was on a plane to Orlando as part of his publicity tour. With no specified workout, we had two choices on this cold drizzly morning.
(35 degrees): go home and go back to bed-or- bite the bullet and run. Amy, Clint and I ran. We decided on the usual 7 mile I-35 loop. We started slow and after two miles, decided to pick it up a bit. Clint was long gone. That's what happens when you run a 3hr marathon. Amy and I trodded along and wondered why it felt particularly difficult today. I point to a couple of reasons:

1.) We were overdressed...2 pairs of pants, heavy running jacket, hat, gloves. After 5 miles, we were pretty darn hot with 2 miles still to go.

2.) We had just run 20 miles 2 days before. duhhhh...We just don't give ourselves enough credit for such a long run and how it depletes you physically and mentally.

3.) The previous week was difficult in general: 1000m repeats on Monday, tempo run Wed, 20 miler on Friday, three swims, 1 official core workout and one spin class.

4.) Haven't been feeling well. It didn't help being out in the cold and drizzle while volunteering at the Freescale Marathon.


We still ended with a very respectable 8:40 overall pace for the 7 miles, even though it felt like we were pushing it harder.

I've got my core workout tonight and then Shawn and I are joining some friends for a birthday/post-marathon dinner at Matt's El Rancho. I promise to stay away from chips and queso. I repeat... I promise to stay away from chips and queso. Notice that I didn't say anything about margaritas. I'm trying to eat a lot early so that I won't overeat too much yummy Mexican food.

5:15am whole wheat tortilla with PB
7:15am Small Sugar Free Vanilla Cappuchino-yep, afraid to admit, it came from a gas station coffee vending machine. Not sure where that irrational craving came from.
10:30am tuna wrap with spinach and fat free cream cheese
3:00pm Left over chicken stir fry with brown rice and veggies.
6:00pm 1/2 cup cottage cheese/pineapple chunks
8:00pm no more than like 5 chips and a teaspoon of queso!!! YAY!! I actually showed some restraint!! I even ordered the "ultra-lite" chicken fajitas served with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and squash... 1 1/2 corn tortillas, salsa and 2 glasses of red wine (I opted out on the margarita action)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mother Nature Can Be A Bee-Otch!

It's Freescale Marathon weekend in beautiful, sunny and mild Austin, Texas. Wait...scratch that...make it cold, drizzly and freezing rain Austin, Texas. Once again, Mother Nature decided to unleash a mood swing on Austin just in time for Marathon weekend. I didn't run the race, but volunteered. I was supposed to be in charge of vehicles. That includes Elite vans, supply trucks, etc. Unfortunately, there wasn't much for me to do with this job since most vehicles were in the possession of the Operations staff at any given time. No worries. There were plenty of other areas that needed a hand; albeit a freezing hand. The Start time was delayed by 30 minutes because some of the bridges and overpasses were shut down because of the freezing rain. That gave us extra time at the finish line to make sure everything was set up. I jumped in at the VIP area and helped move drinks and decorate tables...hopped over to the volunteer tent to assist with checkin. I became an all-around floater for the day. I even found myself assisting Alan Culpepper's wife Shayne and parents while they waited for him to finish the 1/2 Marathon invitational with time checks. For those that don't know, Alan and his wife are premiere American Distance Runners. Alan finished 4th in Boston last year and was in town running an Invitational Half-Marathon.

Once the race started, events seemed to progress smoothly and I watched the finishers for over an hour to see if I could spot some of my running partners. I saw Gilbert, Jimmy, Patrick, Shannon, Richard, Jason, Erine, Jay and other Gazelles crossing the finish line. As I stood there bundled up with two coats, two pairs of socks and two pairs of pants, I suddenly found myself wishing I was out there with them. There's still no greater feeling than crossing that line. I love watching runners pumping their fists with excitement as they cross the finish. Yay for running!!

After hanging out at the finish for a while, I heard a call on the radio that they needed some volunteers for crowd control. Spectators were blocking the race course in the last 1/2 mile and not giving them enough room to get through. I headed over there to help for a while until the crowds thinned out.

As for me, I'm taking a physical day of much-needed rest, but it's back on the trail tomorrow morning. My nutrition for today has been a little wacky since I was out at the marathon all day.


5:20am 1/2 Balance Bar
9:00am banana and coffee, 1/2 piece of lemon poppyseed muffin
11:30am turkey on small bun and smoked salmon
3:30pm PBJ on Wheat bread, 1/2 cup veggie chili, fresca
7:45pm Spring Roll, chicken stir fry with Ginger White Wine Sauce and a slew of veggies

Friday, February 17, 2006

You Know You're An Athlete When...

1.) You run 20 miles on a Friday Morning before work and then proceed through your day as if that type of activity is "normal." I can only say that because I successfully knocked out my long run this morning in 3hrs 2min (avg 9:17 pace per mile--perfect 1 min slower than Marathon Goal Pace). I started at 5am with Amy and I was at my desk by 9am! We started at Runtex and ran the Scenic/Mt. Bonnell loop for 14 miles. Mt. Bonnell is so much more tolerable when you're climbing it in the dark. We then tacked on another 6 by running Amy's "Capital Loop," which is the Congress Ave. Loop with a 2 mile up/back on Congress Avenue heading towards the Capitol Building. You do get some funny looks from business people with their Starbucks, commuters in their SUVs and homeless folks as you are striding up the road in the middle of downtown.
A funny thing happened today. I bit the dust with .50 to go! I can understand if it was still dark, but NOOOOOOOOO. We were ending our run and of course it was right next to a busy road with several disgruntled downtown workers heading to their jobs. I didn't clear a rock and bit it. Luckily, it wasn't bad at all. I'm sure I made someone's day on their way to work. I can hear it now from the State Employee..."There's one more reason not to exercise! It's actually dangerous!" I'll just chalk it up to the fact that I had 19 1/2 miles on my feet at that point!!

Here are some other funnies...


2.) The word "Garmin" comes up in conversation at least once a day.
3.) You can say the word "fartlek" in mixed company without giggling.
4.) You eat a PBJ sandwich, cereal, apple, banana and Clif Bar and then ask your work friends where to go for lunch.
5.) Winning the lottery would mean free shoes, a new bike and new apparrel for life.
6.) Your vacation plans include the phrase, "And then after the race, we'll..."
7.) A workout time change from 5:45am to 6:00am is considered serious sleeping in time.
8.) When someone asks, "What are you doing this weekend," you immediately think of your training schedule above anything else.
9.) The first question people ask you these days is, "What are you training for NOW?"
10.) You want to have kids, but aren't sure which events to schedule them in between.

To all my Freescale Marathon Runners. Best of Luck! I'm with you in spirit.


4:15am (pre run): 1/2 bowl of oatmeal, whole wheat bread with PBJ, 12 oz Gatorade Endurance

5:00-8:00am: 2 Clif Shots

8:45 am: Jamba Juice Matcha Green Tea Mist Smoothie (yummies) and hand full of Cinamon Rice Chex

12:15p: Sushi from Whole Foods--Spicy Tuna and Avacado with brown rice, bottle of Propel fitness water

4:00pm really hungry! PBJ on Whole Wheat and Apple

7:30pm A serious hodge podge of food...polished off the chicken/tofu pad thai, tuna wrapped in whole wheat tortilla with lettuce and fat free cheese, 1/2 cup of tempei chili from Whole Foods. (It is freezing in Austin so I had to have chili) , fresca and 1/2 glass red wine

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oil, Lube and Filter

Today is one of those days where I feel incredibly fortunate to have a flexible job and an understanding employer. I've been feeling a little under the weather lately and completely rundown. Not one for being whiny, I've been keeping up with my work and my workouts as best as possible. This morning, I got up and went to 5:45am spin class. I showed up about 5 min. late and was surprised to notice that they were already post-warmup and into their first sprint. The instructor was apparently pushing it a bit this morning since so many people tend to leave early. Once again, I chose not to wear my heart rate monitor and just work on perceived exertion. I want to work hard, but not too hard. For now (early in the training season), I'm simply trying to get my legs used to the bike again. After class, I spent a 1/2 hour doing abs and weights. We cancelled our core class for tonight since so many people who attend are on the Freescale Marathon committee. Needless to say, since the Marathon is on Sunday, they are slightly busy. What's ironic is that I'm very quiet at the gym. I don't belong to any little clique of people who are there the same day. I go in, do my workout and leave. So, it wasn't until after I got home and said "good morning" to my cat that I realized that I don't have a voice! Well, I have a voice, but it resembles that of an 80- year old woman who is still smoking Camel Non-Filters. And, I don't want to be the woman who says "good morning" to her cat with a smoker's hack. That woman is mean and sad and frightens little children.

My goal was to get my car to the oil change place early and be at work by 8:45am. Wrong again. At 9:00am, I called work and had to tell them that my car was just being finished. I was noticing that I was still really tired and my body felt like it needed its oil changed. If I was running the Marathon this weekend, I'd be in full panic mode right now. I made it to work in time to make my usual bowl of cereal at 9:15 and head out to a client meeting with my boss. It lasted almost two hours so we decided to grab lunch around 12:30p on our way back to the office. My boss was like, "Didn't you just eat breakfast?" That was like 3 hours ago woman. This machine needs fuel. Like any good engine, you have to constantly feed it the good stuff.

Lunch was an odd mixture of food because we went to Kerby Lane Cafe, which is known mostly for its breakfast. We ended up splitting a Gingerbread pancake and then I ate a hummus/tabouli taco with salad. I felt refueled, but still not right. My voice sounded horrible and I was beginning to feel like I sounded. Plus, I was anticipating the two workouts that I have to complete over the next 24 hours--my swim class and a 20 mile training run at 5am on Friday morning.

Deb just looked at me and said, "Get your work done and get out of here." That's exactly the prescription I needed. I went back to the office and worked feverishly until about 3pm. I met Shawn at Runtex where we redeemed my Valentines Day present--a brand new pair of Asics Gel Nimbus shoes. They're new for me so we'll see how it goes for the run tomorrow! I may run the first half in the new shoes and the 2nd half in the old ones just to break them in a bit. I got home and slept from about 4p-5:30p

I'm getting ready to leave the house for swim class and my personal tank feels about 1/2 full. I just ate some veggies, tofu and brown rice and a little left over pad thai.

Let's hope my engine gets me through the next two workouts. I'd hate to have to take it in for maitenance over the weekend.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tempo Madness

When you think of tempo, you think of music. A song can have a fast or a slow tempo. Even falling rain can have a nice easy rhythm or tempo. When the word "tempo" is used in conjunction with running, there is no such thing as slow, especially when you're a member of "Gilbert's Gazelles." By definition, a tempo run is supposed to be a faster run for an extended period of time. It's these runs that get you to the next level by pushing your heart rate into higher zones for longer periods of time. Today's tempo run was 4 miles. You'd think I'd look forward to this workout because it's a quickie--literally. It's brutal while you're running, but over before you know it, unlike some workouts that seem to go on forever!

I've been feeling a bit under the weather and I've been in my little stress funk so I wasn't sure what to expect. Plus, I'd actually missed the last two tempo workouts. The last time I did this one was back in October with a personal best of 29:04 (7:06 per mile). I remember thinking at the time that I couldn't possibly go faster. It's dark in the morning while we're running on a dirt trail that has several dips, cracks, tree roots, rocks and other hazards--not to mention the other runners who are also out for their morning runs before the sun rises. Bottom line, you have to stay mentally in tact for this workout as well. If not, you will bite it and bite it bad. As I mentioned before, the Hike and Bike Trail is a treasure that I utilize almost every day so I'm pretty familiar with every dip and rock. However, I try not to get too cocky.

We started with a very comfortable 2 mile warmup (so much for a short 4 mile run). We averaged about a 9:20 pace for the warmup. Anne, Amy, Gretchen, Dave and I were it...Just five lonely souls today. We all voiced our trepidation for today's workout. I don't know what it is about this one. Actually, I do know. Because you know you're running faster than usual, it automatically puts you in "race mode." Suddenly you start questioning everything up to this point. We did our usual drills (high knees, skipping, shuffle,etc) and I think Gilbert sensed our emotions and gave us a typical Gilbert Pep Talk before we began. "My friends, don't think about your times from the past. It's a clean slate. Today is a new beginning." I wanted to heed his advice, but not thinking about the past is impossible. That's like getting back together with a person who cheated on you and pretending that it never happened. Oh no, there's always memories from the past.

GO!!! And we were off. Of the five of us who were running, I'm the slowest of the bunch. I don't say that for sympathy or encouragement. I say it based on past training and race times. Therefore, my goal for the tempo run was to try to stay within 10 yards of the women. Dave is much faster so when Gilbert said "go," Dave was gone. For the first half mile, I had trouble regulating my breathing, but I was right in the pack. I hate that sensation of breathing really hard and being able to hear it loud and clear. I'm assuming that everyone else can hear my struggling breath and are probably wondering if (or when) I'm going to drop! The first mile beeps on the Garmin 7:10...a little brisk for attempting a negative split, but I'm feeling more comfortable. Mile 2 is a pretty tough mile with two small hills on the trail, a bridge crossing and some railroad tracks. I'm still in the pack. Actually, I'm moving up. What the hell? Gretchen dropped back, as did Anne. This is scary. Both of them are smokin' fast. I don't know Gretchen well, but I know Anne is a very consistent and strong runner. Amy is hanging with me, but suddenly I'm in the lead and I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm not used to being ahead. I like the sensation of falling in behind a pacer and just drafting. I'm more comfortable in the back.

We hit the Mile 2 turnaround--7:01. OK--2 more miles--Hang on sister! Every running mantra passed through my mind. Be the rabbit, breathe, watch your form, breathe, breathe!!! I actually consciously told myself that I wanted to slow down a little bit. This was a benchmark run and I can't possibly pull this off again. Just when I started to slow down, I could hear Amy's footsteps right behind me. Pick it up!! Run like a freakin' gazelle. Do not let the lions get you.
Mile 3--6:58 wow--faster yet. I know I was going to beat my October time so I really did want to slow down a little for the last mile. How am I ever going to top this?? Breathing is incredibly laborious. Legs getting heavier. 1/2 mile to go. In typical fashion, here comes Amy. She did it. That girl has an amazing kick which has earned her the coveted "Sandbagger" nickname. I swear she just sits back and waits to make her pass. She rocks. She finishes about 5 yards ahead of me.

My final time: 28 min:00:06!! I beat my 4 mile record by over a minute. Not easy to do in four miles. Needless to say, I was thrilled and freaking exhausted! Screw the slow tempo. I want a fast beat that I can run to.

On a better note: Amy agreed to do our 20 miler on Friday morning! YAY! I don't have to run by myself at 5am.


5:30am Whole wheat toast with PBJ
9:30am KAshi Go lean crunch with blueberries and yogurt
1:00pm 2 lettuce wraps, 1 1/2 cups of chicken pad thai
4:00pm 1 strawberry dipped in chocolate
7:30pm 2 lettuce wraps, tofu/veggies and brown rice ( I love leftovers)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Feeling a bit under the weather today on this Valentines Day and did not get up for spin class. Fear not though, I do have swim class this evening at 7pm! My boyfriend Shawn and I are spending a romantic evening in the swimming pool working on stroke and balance drills. Unfortunately, it's the wrong kind of stroking drills!!

Swim class continues to go well, but who knew it could be so freaking complicated! I think my DNA strands are more simple than the bits and pieces of a swim stroke. Elbows high, legs straight, lead arm low, don't forget the catch, make sure the stroking arm goes toward the water before you begin the catch, rotate, balace, breathe, don't lift your head...YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!! All of that to make one stroke. No wander it's a challenge for me. I can say with some confidence that I'm absolutely starting to notice a difference in my stroke and style of swimming. We haven't started using the pace clock just yet. This clinic is all about drills, drills, drills. I love it and I'm happy that I'm doing the class.

I do have to get creative for this weekend because I'm volunteering at the Freescale Marathon on Sunday. Therefore, I'm able to go to the Saturday swim clinic at 7:15am. I'm also supposed to squeeze in a simple 20 mile training run this weekend as well :-). I may actually attempt a Friday morning 20 miler. If I'm running by 5am, I could still be in my office by 9am.


7:15am Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Uncle Sam's combined with Fat Free Organic yofurt
11am -chocolate covered strawberry (does it help that it was dark chocolate and the smallest strawberry in the box?)
11:30am cup of dry kashi go lean crunch
2:00pm Valentines Day lunch with Shawn at Fino: appetizer:1 piece of pita bread dipped in a couple of different things--hummus, yogurt dip, eggplant dip
lunch: polenta, marinara and chorizo dish--very tasty and spicy
dessert: yep-he and I split a piece of tiramasu with white chocolate crumble on the top. It was excellent
9:15 pm (after swim class) 2 lettuce wraps from PF Changs and 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1/2 glass of red wine.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Ode to My Alter-Ego

"Love is Patient, Love is Kind..." We've heard that reading ad nauseum at every wedding we've ever been to. In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd like to take this opportunity to write a love letter to my alter-ego: Fat Carrie. I was pretty overweight until a few short years ago. Unfortunately, my former self still exists on a daily basis in many forms. She's not always there physically, but a day doesn't pass that we don't spend time together. She appears in my mirrors, she appears on the scale, she appears in old photos, she appears in restaurants when I'm deciding what to eat, she appears in my car when I'm thinking of just swinging by a fast food restaurant at lunch, she appears when I'm out with my girlfriends and I start thinking about being "the fat one" in the group, she appears when I'm on a date with my boyfriend. I can hear her whispering in my ear. "Everyone is wandering why he is with you." She appears at swim class when I'm standing in my suit and she even appears sometimes at Run Class with the Gazelles when I'm reminded that, although I've made terrific advances in my running, I'm still in "the slow group."

I spend most of my days cursing her and begging her to go away. With every spin class, swim class, training run, core class and yoga pose, I'm pushing her further in the distance. However, I'd like to extend my gratitude to the one person who is always there for better or worse.

Dearest Fat Carrie:

First and foremost, I love you. Because you're in my life, I would not be where I am today. Somedays I find it hard to function without you and I'm honored to be a part of you. You inspire me to greatness and, because of you, I've experienced elation like never before. You were with me in 2002 when I finished my very first marathon and triathlon. You were with me in my first Half-Ironman in 2004 when I was struggling through flat tires and mechanical problems. You stood by and gave me permission to quit. That day, I'm glad I didn't listen to you. I perservered and finished something I never thought possible. You continue to stand next to me. Your presence alone continues to feed me determination to reach goals that were once unattainable. In Sonoma, CA in 2005, you were there for my 2nd Half-Ironman. I felt you next to me when I was struggling through the swim. I eventually got out of the river, got on my bike and rode for my life. You stayed on the beach and waited for your next opportunity to be with me. I caught a glimpse of you at the Chicago Marathon in 2005. I looked at you, acknowledged your presence and just kept running. I finished that race in 3:37 and earned my spot at the Start Line of the Boston Marathon.

I cherish our memories together because we've sure had some great times. I can honestly say that you know me better than anyone else. Thank you, Fat Carrie, for your constant presence in my life. Although I don't always know how to show it, I do appreciate it. Our relationship isn't always perfect. In fact, sometimes it's downright contentious. However, I want you to know that your presence is inspiring. Even though we may grow apart someday, I know you'll always be a part of me.

Love always,


Running By Moonlight

Ugghhh...I don't wanna! I had the mentality of a 3 year old for this morning's Gazelle workout. Honestly, it wasn't even one that I was dreading until I got to Runtex at 5:45am and no one was in the parking lot. Immediately, I started stressing out. Did they change the meeting place? What workout am I doing? Why am I here? What time is it? Holy shit the moon is bright. I told myself I was going to give Amy 5 minutes to show up. If she didn't, I was going home and going to bed. Damn. She pulled in as I was getting my hopes up to start a pot of coffee and snuggle with my cat for an hour. Slowly, people started to trickle in the parking lot. It turns out that Gilbert sent an email to be there at 6am and not 5:45am. I tried to check my email last night, but couldn't hop on the server for some reason. For whatever reason, that minor mishap set the tone for my workout. At that hour, an extra 15 minutes would be like heaven. Plus, I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of my fellow Gazelles who are in full taper mode this week. Of course, I have to remember that they are also running a marathon in 6 days and I'm not. In fact, I'm training for the Boston freakin' Marathon--the Boston Freakin' Marathon!! Who am I to complain about anything?!?!

Alright, alright...Anne, Amy and I set off for the 1.4 mile warmup to Zilker Park. Today's workout: 8 x 1000s with a couple of minute recovery in between. I've done this workout before and it's not bad. It's actually one of my favorites. For whatever reason, I just didn't have it this morning. Saturday's 14 miler had beat me up pretty bad and I know I desperately need a massage. My body is definitely out of whack. Plus, I had a swim workout yesterday morning. It was 28 degrees and we were in an outdoor pool. Yes, the water temperature was 82 degrees, but getting in and out of the water was brutal. After that, I hopped on my windtrainer at my house and did an hour of interval work--2 min fast spin/2 min recovery...no hard gears, just some quick cadence work.

From the first interval, I fell behind Anne and Amy. Anne is definitely the rabbit and Amy and I are the greyhounds trying to catch her. Today, however, I didn't have the chase in me. I just told myself to be happy with what I can do today and don't push it. We did the first 4 repeats in the dark. Actually, the moon was incredibly bright. Normally, I'd bask in the beauty of running in such a serene setting. Today, it felt like the moon was taunting me. "You could be in bed like the rest of the city," It seemed to say. "I know. Bite me," was about all I could muster back. By that point the rest of the Gazelles were also doing their very slow repeats and the sun began to creep over the horizon.

Two more...I can do this. And just like that, the other Gazelles had already come and gone. Ughh...I'm jealous...No I'm not...Yes I am...We finished #7 and were walking back to start #8. Gilbert stopped us. Enough for today. You've got a 20-miler on Saturday. Thanks for the reminder Gilbert :-) I have to say that I'm proud I didn't wuss out after 5 or 6 repeats and I'm a little disappointed that he stopped us with one more to go. Did I want to do it? No--but I wanted to look up to the sky, flip off the moon and prove that I lasted longer than it did this morning.

7 repeats--between 3:53 and 4:20 for all of them. I think we cut the first couple short since we couldn't freaking see and Gilbert hadn't arrived yet to stake his car at the finish point.

Wednesday is a 4-mile tempo run. In the simplest of terms, I refer to it as "the run, but don't puke workout. " You basically sprint for four miles and just try to hang on. It will be tough with so few of us.

Here's a link to a video of Gilbert and his gazelles in action: http://www.statesman.com/news/mplayer/m/2640

6p-7p: Core Workout--squats and lunges with my new 18 lb body bar, arms, and and abs. Feeling a little tougher and tighter every day.


5:25am Balance Bar
8:30am Kashi Go Lean Crunh with yogurt and blueberries...MMMMM...heat it up for about 20 seconds and it's like a cobbler. small Apple
11:45am Freescale Marathon luncheon: combo of chicken/steak fajita meat, about 1/3 cup of rice/beans, salad with Salsa...3 bites of flan, cinnamon pastry, green tea
1:30p 1/2 Clif Bar
5:00pm piece of Whole wheat bread with PBand J
8:00pm tuna salad, sweet potato and sauteed spinach, 2 oz of red wine

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It Takes Flat Stanley to Make Me Feel Well-Rounded

Anyone know who Flat Stanley is? Well, he just spent a week with me in Austin. He's basically a paper doll/school project. My niece in Columbus, Ohio sent him to me. The gist? He spends a week with me as I go about my life. I'm supposed to snap photos with Flat Stanley at various places around town and then write a brief journal about all of the places we visited. I send him back and Nikki gets to present her fabulous Flat Stanley journal to all of her friends and classmates.

I had so much fun with Flat Stanley! Not only did he make me want to see some of the cool things in Austin again (that I take for granted), but he also made me realize how fulfilling my life is. As I broke it down and wrote about each photo, I realized that I'm doing everything I've ever wanted to do with my life. I'm active, I'm fit, I have a cool job at an Ad Agency, I'm acting and making others laugh, I have a wonderful boyfriend and I live in an amazing city. Plus, I have the freedom to do all of these things. Hell, if I wasn't me, I'd want to be me...and that's a good thing.

I'd love to attach my journal as a word doc, but I don't know how. Anyone? Anyone?

On another note: Amy, Ann and I ran a 14 miler this morning at 6am. It included the mentally draining Scenic/Mt. Bonnell hill. Climbing Mt. Bonnell on foot only takes a couple of minutes, but climbing it in your mind takes an eternity. There's nothing like getting to the top and looking out to the sunrise over the rest of Austin.


5:15am Whole wheat bread with PB and J
9:00a.m. Espresso with Splenda--yummy
12noon Turkey and provolgne wrapped in whole wheat tortilla
4pm Spinach salad with vinagerette, tuna salad, jello sugar free pudding
8pm Homeslice Pizzeria-they say you can splurge on one meal a week. This was clearly my meal! 2 glasses of red wine, ceasar salad, 2 1.2 slices of LARGE pizza with garlic, spinach, cheese and sausage. Some definite carb and fat loading, but boy did it taste good after a hard week!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'm Glad Someone Created a Day of Rest!

Ladies and gentlemen...I have officially taken a day off from working out. Coach Chrissie sent an intensive Swim workout that I'll take care of tomorrow. I also have a 14 mile training run scheduled.

Here's the emails that you like to see from clients at the end of the week after a pretty tough presentation.

"Carrie and Deb -Just a quick note to thank you both so much for coming this morning. You were able to put everyone at ease and at the same time make them realize you care very deeply that they succeed in business and that every dollar they spend be to the best possible advantage for them. You did a great job and the meeting went 50 times better than I expected! Thanks also for all of the hard work that you put in every day for us!"

Good Mojo for the Day: It's good to go into the weekend knowing that you've taken care of someone's needs.


6:30am 1/2 Clif Bar, coffee, bottle of water

10:25am 1 1/2 cups of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with blueberries and 1/2 cup of Fat Free Organic yogurt

12:45pm Lunch provided by a Radio Rep (i.e. FREE!!!)
Salad with chicken and vinagerette, fruit, 1/2 turkey sandwich, couple of bites of spinach/artichoke dip with pita chips, 1/2 chocolate truffle.

5:30pm one glass of white wine.

6:15pm bowl of Kashi/Uncle Sam Mixed with yogurt

8:20pm 2 pieces of smooked sirloin, a dinner salad with salsa, sweet potato (probably ate too late)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thank Goodness for Girlfriends!

I didn't know that today would be special. In fact, it was one of those days that you wake up with a looming sense of dread for one reason or another. This particular Thursday, I had three different workouts scheduled, a meeting with the City of Austin regarding a 5 mile race that I direct and a big presentation to prepare for a client. I woke up with that, "Why can't I just sleep in?" attitude. I've been in a bit of a funk lately, which is truly just self-pity and fear disguised as a bad attitude. I'm the type of person that relishes in emotion. When I'm happy, I'm happy. When I'm sad, I'm sad. When I'm scared, I tend to cower in the corner for a while until that particular demon passes. In any event, the only way to get myself out of those bouts with temporary darkness is to move. Literally. Get up. Get in my car. Go to the trail. Run.

I was actually meeting Amy and Anne for a 6am "recovery run" of 7 miles. It was a beautiful morning surrounded by the familiarity of the Town Lake Trail. Over the course of the hour or so, we talked about our families, our fears, moving, remodeling, kids, relationships and, of course, training. It's in those moments that I discover how different and yet so similar we all are. I couldn't help but pick up on the fact that these very powerful women also have fears. Suddenly, I could feel my veil of darkness start to lift. I'm not alone. I have my running girlfriends and we'll get each other through. We ended our 7 mile run in under 9 min miles...a little brisk for a recovery run, but when you see a sunrise like we did, you can't help but have a spring in your step.

My job at the Ad Agency (www.mmaustin.com) requires me to wear many hats. I write commercials, I pitch new business, I take Sales Calls, I get bids on ads, business cards, magazines, etc. I also work for two amazing women who started the agency a little over three years ago. They dropped all of their securities for the unknown world of starting their own business with nothing but a computer and a kitchen table with which to work. Again, I'm reminded that fear can do two things: stifle or motivate. These women were motivated by fear and so am I. I have my employer girlfriends and we'll get each other through.

Ahhh...abs, squats and lunges...the core of the body. I started taking this core class about 6 weeks ago. They aren't kidding when they say that it takes every bit of 8 weeks to start to notice a change. I'm just now starting to sense some tightening of the abs, legs and arms thanks to Trainer Sue. This informal core class from 6p-7p consists of a group of women consisting mostly of Jill's posse. We're a fortunate and loyal bunch. We're also crazy. Most of us are already athletes who are training for something or another. But what do we do? We spend the moments in between exercises pinching our love handles and "belly goo" as we verbally will it away. We mock each other's technique and style of crunches and ball work. We call someone out when their weight bar appears to be too light. Why do we do this? FEAR-Fear of not improving, fear that we are doing it wrong and fear of looking in the mirror and not liking what we see. We also do this to motivate each other to higher levels. This core class is a way of coming together to celebrate strength, grace and femininity. It's also a place to get great book recommendations :-) I have my Core girlfriends and we'll get each other through.

My swim clinic was tonight from 7:15p-8:30. Afterward, I also had to attend another party with several of my girlfriends who are former co-workers the radio station where I used to work. Several of us have now gone our seperate ways, but there's still a bond that unites us all. I knew I was going to be late for swimming and I also knew that if I went to swim class then I wouldn't make it to my friend's party until after 9:00pm. It took one email from a girlfriend to convince me that I needed to be at the party. What's one workout?? I was told that I was needed. Wow...After all this time of feeling a little needy. I was the one that was needed. You bet I went straight from my core class to my girlfriends and proceeded to laugh, cry, sing songs, look at photos, eat great food and drink a fabulous glass of vino in honor of my former co-worker girlfriends. We got each other through.

I drove home this evening from a long day with a little less fear and a lot more gratitude. God Bless Girlfriends.


5:30am 1/2 Clif Bar and 1/4 cup of dry Kashi Go Lean Crunch

8:45am whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a banana, Minute Maid Lite Raspberry Passion (10 cal per can)

12:15pm Homeade tuna salad made with fat free cream cheese instead of mayo, a garden salad with fat free dressing and sugar free jello pudding, water

3:30p Espresso from Starbucks

5:30p Cup of Dry kashi Go Lean Crunch

7:45p Small salad with 1 small crab cake, 3 oz pork tenderloin, red pepper ravioli and asparagus, Desert was Strawberries with whipped cream and one chocolate truffle, 2 glasses of wine. ***afterall, I was with my girlfriend's house for her dinner party.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I Feel Like an Animal

At what point can you actually call yourself an athlete? Do you have to win races, place in your age group, do two-a-days everyday? Or, is constant determination and practice enough to achieve the coveted self-proclamation of "athlete." I think I got the answer I wanted on this morning's training run when I needed it most. We were doing fartleks around the Town Lake Trail. It's sad and comforting that we know every dip, crevise, crack and hill on that trail. It's also a private treasure to run on the trail long before the sun has hit the horizon. The plan was to run the first two miles slow, fartlek for 3 1/2 miles (2 min fast/1 min slow) and then cool down for a total run of 7 miles. I started my warmup with Amy, Anne, Dave and others who are also running Boston. The rest of the Gazelles were doing the same workout, but at a prescribed slower pace. By the end of the warmup, I had caught up with Thon who proved to be my inspiration and rabbit this morning. A couple of fartlek repeats go by and out of nowhere Thon says, "This workout makes me feel like an animal." And there it was. Oddly enough, it was at a moment of self-doubt. I didn't think I could hold the fartlek pace for 3 more miles. Whether we're being chased or the ones who are doing the chasing, we're all animals. The heavy breathing, the stealth legs, the quick turnover to maximize speed, the sense of panic when you know it's time to speed up again...Animals. I turned it into a chase and kept within 5-10 yards of Anne, Amy and Thon. After nine repeats and 3 1/2 miles of fartleks, they determined that it was enough. I was exhausted, but hungry for one more. Today, I was an animal. From now on, I'm also officially an athlete.

Funny for the Day: One of my clients called and complained about their commercial. He eventually sent me an email telling me that he sold 5 necklaces today because of that radio spot. :-)


5:15am Whole wheat bread with peanut butter and 1/2 banana (this is a pattern). Bottle of water after my run.

9:30am 1 1/2 cups of Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Uncle Sam's combined, 1/2 banana, couple of cups of coffee...2 bottles of water.

11:30am Body For Life protein drink

1:15pm Chicken/asparagus/shrimp in a brown sauce with 1/4 cup rice, wonton soup, diet coke

4:00pm Irrational Craving and subsequent purchase of a small Sonic orange cream slush. (I apparently needed some sugar)

5:00pm Fresca

7:45pm Dinner Salad with Salsa, shrimp enchilada, grilled fish taco from Wahoos (new restaurant in Austin)...Diet coke

***Too many sodas today and not enough water!!***

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Spin, Swim, Smile

I swear, it doesn't matter what time I go to bed. The 5:00am alarm is still freaking early. I'm an admitted "snooze button" girl. I have to wake up gradually. If I was running, today would be considered a Recovery Day. We'd slowly run about 7 miles just to get the distance, This morning, I'm somewhat glad I chose not to run. It was a very brisk mid-30s as I hopped into my car and begin the journey to the gym for 5:45am Spin class. I got there about 5 minutes into the warmup. We proceeded to do a strength and speed workout today.
6x progressive hill climbs out of the saddle up to 90% max HR, about 1 min rest in between
6x speed sprints
6x progressive hill climbs
3x speed sprints
cool down

I didn't have my heart rate monitor this morning so I was working from my rate of perceived exertion. It takes me a while to get up to 90% on a spin bike so I'm sure I never really hit it. I'd say I stayed near 80%-85% or about a 7-8.5 on the RPE scale. I was working, but I didn't feel like my heart was beating out of my chest. After all, this is a recovery day and I wanted to rest my weary legs. Besides, I think some spin classes can be brutal on your knees, especially when the resistance is up really high and the instructor is yelling "push, pull, push, pull."

After spin, I went and stretched independently for about 10 minutes and relished in the fact that it was 7am and I had already rocked out to Loverboy, Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliott, Will Smith and other cheesy music while spinning those legs!

Tonight began Week #2 of my Swim Clinic. On Sunday, coach Maurice from Austin's Total Technique Training (www.austint3.com) videotaped us both above and below the water. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my form is pretty darn good. Too bad I'm still slow as hell!! Tonight was more of the same...drills, drills, drills. Here's what I'm discovering about swimming. It is one of the few workouts that you finish and actually feel invigorated and refreshed. After a hard run or bike ride, I am spent. My legs hurt, my lungs hurt, I'm done. After a good swim workout, I feel alive. It doesn't hurt that we're swimming in an outdoor heated pool in February. This revelation begs the question for me, "Why do I dread my swim workouts?" Several reasons come to mind:
-We all put off what we're not good at doing. I'm a below average swimmer. Therefore, I procrastinate as much as possible.
-I was overweight and very big-chested as a young girl. I'm still haunted by the stares, finger-pointing, name calling and general horror of being uncomfotable in my skin. To this day when I put on my suit, I'm convinced all eyes are on me.
-It's the middle of "winter" in Austin and it's not bathing suit season
-I've taken classes before and they've never worked. Why will this be different?
-Swimming is so ritualistic. With running, I can put on my shoes and go. Anywhere. Swimming isn't so convenient. You have to drive to your pool, change clothes, face the bathing suit horror, put on the cap and goggles, adjust to the water and still think about all of the mechanics of swimming.

All that said, I can honestly say that I may be breaking through the mental swimming barrier one drill at a time. Coaches Chrissie and Maurice are amazing and I thoroughly respect their instant feedback on my work. Who knew there was so much involved with this swimming thing?
GOODNESS FOR THE DAY: Showing my friend Susan the condo that my boyfriend and I are interested in buying. Then, going back to work to hear a message from the builder that they want help with their Marketing!


7:15am 1 cup of kashi Go lean Crunch/Uncle Sam's/Cheerios combined, 1/2 cup fat free vanilla yogurt, 1/2 banana, coffee. 1 bottle of water with packet of Crystal Lite Orange.

11:30am piece of whole grain bread with peanut butter . One bottle of water with 1/2 raspberry Crystal Light pack (it makes water so much tastier!)

1:30p Chuys! Dinner Salad with Salsa, 1/2 burrito with grilled chicken, blue corn tortilla, a little sour cream and a couple of diet cokes.

4pm cup of sugar-free Jello, bottle of water

6:30pm 1/2 Clif Bar, 1 cup kashi Go Lean Crunch/Uncle Sam's/Cheerios, 1/2 cup fate free vanilla yogurt

9:15pm 3oz of red wine to wind down.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Fine--I'll start a blog!

It's not like anyone is beating down the door asking me. In fact, not one person has ever uttered the words, "Carrie, you must start a blog! I have to read about your daily trials and tribulations." Truth be told, I'm selfish and I've been wanting to blog for a while, but I've always found it way too enjoyable reading the musings and mishaps of others. I do, however, love to write so here we go! The main goal of this blog is to journal my running and triathlon training. I'm running the Boston marathon in April and will concurrently be training for the Eagleman Half-Ironman in June.

You and I will also probably find that this will also become a nutritional diary and a general overview of how I see the world from my little space in Austin, Texas. Believe me, at the moment, it's all good. (Except for the seemingly endless list of obligations)

I train with a running group in Austin called "Gilbert's Gazelles." www.gilbertsgazelles.com Three years ago, I would've never joined this group. It was always for the elite and superfast people in Austin. You know, the ones you actually read about in Running and Triathlete magazines--Desiree Ficker, Patrick Evoe, Sabine Bildstein and many others. If you're not familiar with these folks, just google their Ironman or Marathon times. Of course, here I am at the other end of the spectrum running 9 minute miles on a good day. It's certainly respectable, but not nearly fast enough to achieve my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. After a couple of failed attempts and one near-death experience on a Marathon course, I knew I had to hire a professional. I finally took the plunge and became one of the slowest runners in Gilbert's group.

Long story short, (I'll post back stories as needed) I ran a 3:37 in Chicago last October and a 1:34 Half-Marathon two weeks ago in Austin. My times have drastically improved! I owe it to Gilbert and his Gazelle group.

Monday, February 6th
We did a 10 mile pace run this morning. The first five slow and the 2nd half at least two minutes faster. Running slow was not a problem this morning. My running partner Amy and I started at 5:50am in the pitch black on a cool windy morning. There are a couple other folks training for Boston right now as well. They immediately started faster than we did. The rest of the Gazelles are in serious taper-mode since the Freescale Austin Marathon is a mere two weeks away. Many kudos to Clint for continuously holding back to make sure that Amy and I hadn't been dragged in any bushes. My hams have been tight since the Half-Marathon and I'm acutely aware that I need a massage. In addition, about a week ago, a woman was assaulted on the trail in the exact area we were running. Needless to say, Amy and I were a lot more cautious than usual as we meandered through the dark.

The first 5 miles took a little over 43 minutes. Again, not bad for a "slow" warmup. The wind was also a factor with gusts between 10-15 miles an hour. We picked it up as prescribed and finished the last five in about 40 minutes, thereby achieving the goal of a minimum 2 minute negative split. Both of us were pretty spent after that run. We both audibly wondered how we could put together a 7:11 pace for a Half-Marathon and barely an 8:30 pace for a training run. Ah well...we made all of the usual excuses...we're tired, it's windy, legs sore, etc...did our strides and called it a day.

Of course, after work, I also have my hour-long core class from 6p-7p. I've been attending this class twice per week for about 6 weeks now and am noticing a little tightening in the abs and arms department. I keep hoping I'm going to wake up and look hard core. No such luck. This group of women was put together by my friend Jill and I'm fortunate to have been one of the invited few to join. There's nothing like working your abs and glutes while catching up on girl-talk.

Goodness for the Day: Going to work immediately after my run and making a fresh latte on our Starbucks latte machine. While it was brewing, I was laying on the floor stretching and doing some yoga poses in the dark...all before my co-workers had even gotten in their cars to head downtown. Fortunately, I work right across the street from the Trail and I have a shower in our building. Sometimes those quiet moments before work are the best.


5:15am Slice of whole grain bread with tablespoon of Reduced Sugar Peanut Butter (I still can't go completely organic on this one) and a sliced up banana "Elvis-Style"...without the frying, of course...bite of Clif Bar that I found on the front seat of my car.

10:15am 1 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch (nectar of the gods) and 1/2 cup organic fat free vanilla yogurt. 1 bottle of water.

12:45PM apple and a couple of pita chips, can of Sparkling Citrus fresca. 1 bottle of water

2:30pm Salad with turkey, fat free cheese, broccoli and carrots, 1 sugar free jello pudding. A girl needs her chocolate.

5:30p Chocolate Protein Shake

8:00pm Spinach Salad and stir fry chicken and veggies, ginger white wine, 1 cup brown rice