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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Death of an iPod Mini Makes for Silent Bike Ride

Holy Crap...You know when you feel that instant panic when you realize you've left your cell phone at home? You'd drive two hours just to retrieve it because heaven forbid you miss a call?? Well, that's exactly how I feel right now, but it involves my iPod...It DIED on me!!!!!!!!!!! I have no idea why or how. Yes, it's a mini and yes, it's a couple of years old, but c'mon! Believe me, I've charged it over and over. It was working last weekend and then suddenly it stopped. I don't care about the music. I can download Debbie Gibson's "Shake Your Love" again anyday. I'm freaking out because I'm missing my favorite podcasts!! Sure, I can download them and listen to them at work or at home, but it's not the same. I am in an utter state of panic now that the anger and frustration has subsided. I was all excited to listen to this week's episode of "Get Your Geek On" Triathlon Podcast and IRunningRadio, but NOTHING!! On the bike this morning, I had to listen to my own labored breathing as I was riding up not so steep hills.

Is now the time to upgrade to the Nano or even the Big Daddy iPod? Or, should I just say "screw it" since it screwed me? They don't deserve another 300 of my hard earned greenbacks.

On another note, I showed up at the Veloway parking lot this morning at 6:15am and was the first and only car there! The Veloway is a 3.1 mile paved bike trail in South Austin. Next to the Veloway, you can ride an 8 mile loop on the berm of South Mopac. I just thought it was funny that little ol' me was the first cyclist on the road this morning in South Austin freakin' Texas! Not even the Lance wannabes were pounding the pavement this early. I relished another small personal victory (cycling studette!) and proceeded to ride approximately 20 miles this morning. I struggled a bit on the first loop...My speedometer is goofy, but I did the first 8 miles in approximately 29 minutes and the second 8 miles in 27 minutes. I kept it in the big chain ring today until I did my 3 mile cool down ride on the Veloway track itself. My goal is to get that loop consistently in the 25 minute range depending on wind conditions.

This weekend will include a wetsuit swim at Barton Springs on Saturday and Sunday mornings, a 14 mile run tomorrow morning at 11am (to simulate Boston Marathon time and temp) and a 40-50 mile ride on Sunday afternoon.

All this and still that nagging 8 pounds that just won't go away! I don't care...I won't stop eating. Food is yummy :-)

6:00am 1/2 whole wheat tortilla, 1 tablespoon organic PB
9:15am 1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch with yogurt and blueberries, coffee
12:30pm ugghhh--food coma. Some friends are in town from Ohio and I took them out to lunch...side salad, 2 grilled tilapia fish tacos (1 with flour tortilla, 1 without), rice and black beans, guacamole, diet coke


It's official: I received my Official Boston Marathon Race Packet in the mail yesterday. Bib #13039. I'm starting in the second wave, which takes off at 12:30pm...Wow...Starting a marathon in the afternoon. I'm still not sure how my body will respond to that drastic change. We're doing our 14 miler this Saturday at 11am (12noon Boston) so it will be a good test. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I'm afraid to look ahead at the weather patterns. Partly cloudy and mid 50s...That's what I'm hoping for at this point! I saw a picture of the "2006 Official Boston Marathon Running Jacket." It's Silver/Dark navy this year. You know what?? It could be fuscia and brown and I'd still love it! I can't wait to post some photos in my jacket!

This morning, I got up and went to Spin Class and then hopped on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Spin class was a 45 minute series of climbs, jumps and speed work. My avg HR was 76% which includes both the warm-up and cool down. There were a couple of intervals where she wanted us to get to 90%. I got up to 86% max. Honestly, it's very difficult for me to get that high on the spin bike. I've heard that your max HR on the bike is lower than running so I usually try to stay between 85-90%. My HR avg on the treadmill was 80%. Not too bad as I hovered in the 9min range. 3.18 miles in 30 minutes....My knees were a bit sore this morning, which was disconcerting to me. I'm glad I got the workout finished early today because I'm going to dinner and a play with some friends tonight.

Will I make it to the pool at lunch?? That's the plan for now!

I actually did make it to Stacy Pool around 3pm today and did a 30 minute endurance swim. Just a steady swim...For the first 20 minutes, I felt like I nailed it! I've never felt more graceful in the water. Everything seemed to be clicking and this 5' 1" body felt long and graceful. The last 10 minutes weren't so pretty. While I didn't time each lap, I definitely felt like I was losing form and slowing down. What a difference a few minutes makes, right? I was still happy with my overall effort.

I'm also happy that for all intensive purposes, I did a triathlon today!

5:30am PB Kids Clif Bar (free from race), 3 bottles of water at gym, coffee
9:15am cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch, blueberries and yogurt
12:40pm apple and Morning star Veggie burger on 1/2 whole wheat tortilla, diet coke
4:15pm cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with yogurt
7:00pm Zax Grilled Salmon Caesar Salad, cranberry/club soda mix (mocktail), 1 piece of bread with a little butter.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Boston Speed

I finished up last night with another 30 minutes of abs and weights. I never actually got around to running or swimming. That's ok...I still have plenty of time for triathlon training. My first tri isn't until Memorial Day anyways so I'll still have a good 5 weeks of solid training after Boston. I'm mainly concerned about improving the swim anyway at this point.

This morning's Gazelle workout sounds complicated, but thanks to the Garmin, I had the ability to program the entire workout ahead of time and we just had to listen to the beeps. We did this one once before and it's actually pretty fun.
Totalworkout: 10 Miles
20 min warmup
2 x 10 min Marathon Pace with 2min jog in between
3x5min Half Marathon Pace with 1 min in between
10 x 1 min pickups with :15 in between
Cool down rest of way

Amy, Tanya, Marcy and I ran as a pack and we let the Garmin do all of the work for us from a timing standpoint. It's amazing how the conversation went from casual marriage talk to nothing as we continued to listen for the beeps.

Here's how the speed sections broke out. Once again, I sense a little bit of glitch on one or two of them:

20 min warmup 9:11 pace
10 min MGP 8:17
10 min MGP 11:44--no freakin way
5 min HMP 7:49
5 min HMP 7:20
5 min HMP 7:39--very questionable
1 min 7:32, 6:12, 8:10, 6:47, 6:21, 6:15, 8:34, 7:13, 7:14, 7:05

Overall--a great workout and we finished that portion in 1:14:30 for an overall pace of 8:37. That includes the warmup and rest intervals.

5am piece of w.w. bread with organic PB
8:30am cup of brown rice and veggies, chicken, coffee
11:30am chocolate protein shake
1:30pm salad with tuna, 1 small slice of pizza on whole wheat crust (canadian bacon, spinach, broccoli, sundried tomatoes and peppers), 1 small lemon bar...4 bottles of water
6:45p Shady Grove--Lemonade, 1 nacho with cheese (yuck!), Large dinner salad, hamburger (I already had my cheese fill) with 1/2 bun...ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce
9:30 1/2 cup of dry Kashi--I had just bought some and had to open it!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Series of Rehearsals

Doesn't the old Shakespeare quote read something like, "Life is just a stage and we are merely players?" That's exactly how I feel at this moment in my life. Everything I'm doing is practice for something bigger and better.

Last night, my comedy troupe "Gag Reflex" got together to discuss next weekend's trip to D.C. for the D.C. Comedy Fest. It was a great rehearsal! We hadn't seen each other in over a month and it felt like a group of students coming back from summer break. We caught up on our personal lives (Dena's and Kelly's are MUCH more exciting than mine) :-) and ran through our lines for the 7-8 sketches that we'll be performing. It's going to be such a blast even though our trip is only 24 hours long! It's so fun working with such diverse, eclectic and creative people. In many ways, it's a much-welcomed relief from all of the regimes and compulsive behaviors of my training schedule. I'm glad I have that creative outlet to bring me back to reality and realize that there's more to MY life than just swim splits, bricks and bike fittings.

Our rehearsal was time well spent to prepare us for the big show in Washington D.C. on April 8th.

My training schedule (as confining as it feels sometimes) is also a rehearsal for the big events on the horizon in Boston and Maryland. I run courses that simulate the Boston course. I ride in wind gusts to prepare for the worst possible conditions at Eagleman and I practice my nutrition so that I actually make it through both of these events with stamina and dignity.

My "rehearsal time" on the roads and in the pool give me time to reflect, remember, plan and relax--knowing that on race day, I'll know my lines by heart.

And finally, my daily trials and tribulations with Shawn definitely prepare me for the future as we continue to look ahead to whatever life brings us. I have a tendency to overcomplicate small things and his tendency is to oversimplify big things (or what I consider to be big things!) Luckily, 99.9% of the time, we meet in the middle and recognize our quirks. He said it best the other day when I was having a moment. "Keep Your Eyes on the Big Picture." That Big Picture is hazy somedays, but with a little rehearsal, practice and dedication (and sense of humor), it gets clearer by the moment. We are so on the same page with decisions we're making right now. They're decisions that will affect our long-term future and it's comforting to know that we're in it together!

In the end, I don't think "practice makes perfect," but it certainly makes life more interesting.

I was supposed to swim at Barton Springs Pool this morning and run at lunch. Thanks to the blinding rainstorm this morning, both have been put on hold for now. Instead, I did an abbreviated Core Workout this morning and will finish up tonight. I probably need a good solid rest day anyways. If nothing else, I'll make it to the pool this evening.


6:15am 1/2 whole wheat tortilla, 1 teaspoon of organic PB
9:00 Tall Non-Fat Sugar Free Vanilla Latte, cup of Kashi Mighty Bites with sugar free vanilla yogurt
1:30 1/2 cup hot chocolate, Turkey Reuben with 1000 Island dressing, small cup of fruit and 1 small lemon bar. water, water, water

Monday, March 27, 2006

Vacation...All I Ever Wanted!

Shawn and I had a tough 1:45 bike ride yesterday in gusty conditions. I must say, it's the best I've felt on a bike in a LLLLOOOOONNNNGGG time. My bike is lighter, I'm lighter, it's all good for now. Even the wind didn't bother me as much as it usually does. My seat is just about there. I definitely could've kept going, but that's ok. I was glad to be done nonetheless!

We spent the day doing house exploration stuff and capped the night off with the 25th Anniversary Tour of the Original Go Go's! What a blast it was. They all looked and sounded great, much to my surprise. The band looked better than most of the people in the audience who were still wishing it was 1981! Actually, who am I to judge? In the last year, I've seen Duran Duran, Bruce Hornsby, Carole King, Collective Soul, Better than Ezra and others who have seen their better days! I'm definitely not the hippest cat in the litter...

We got home late (well, 11pm is late for me) and hit the sack about 11:30pm. The 5:00am alarm clock came quickly this morning and I was a bit trepidatious about this morning's Gazelle workout--5x 1k at the Meridan Loop. It's a 1k loop of climbs, descents and turns....the antithesis of being on the track. We did 5 of them with 90 sec rest in between. This is the workout where I always tend to blow up because I don't manage my pace well. I go out too fast on the first one and and by the 4th, I'm seeing double. I decided to play it smart this morning and have Jay pace me through the repeats. This man is a machine of consistency. It's too late in the training season to pick up a lot of speed, so my goal right now is to maintain good consistent form until Boston. Jay is the perfect guy to help with that! I let Amy, Tonya, Marcy and the usual gaggle do their own thing today. My legs were still a tad sore from the bike ride so I knew my limits. We did our 3 mile warmup run to Meridan and the fun began...Splits: 4:56, 4:55, 4:50, 4:47, 4:45. I took these directly from Jay's blog entry this morning so they may differ by a sec or two. We worked very well together and each of us took turns pushing the other. That's what teammates are for during workouts like these.

We finished by doing 5 sprints up the hill and 3x backwards. The 3 mile run back to Runtex was pleasant as I ran into my friend Katy who I hadn't seen in months. She looked great and was out for her morning run as well. We ran the last two miles together and then I stretched with Jay as we disussed the workout. I'm very proud of the fact that we completed all 5 repeats and we got faster each time. I didn't blow up like usual and I ended the workout feeling strong. Gilbert did point out the fact that I'm having hip/back issues. How does he know this stuff?? He can just tell by our form he says. Time for a massage.

5:15am Peanut Butter Balance Bar, bottle of water
9:00am Tuna on whole wheat tortilla and 1/2 cup kashi with yogurt, bottle of water and coffee
2:00pm Firebowl! Chicken stirfy with veggies, brown rice on the side, 1 spring roll, diet coke, fortune cookie and one small lemon bar

Power-Couple Wannabes

Kudos to my boy Shawn for kicking ASS at the "Stand Up for CASA" 5k we ran in San Antonio on Saturday!! "Texas Monthly" Magazine was a sponsor of this race series and my friend Kim works there. She invited me and Shawn to run as part of the "Texas Monthly" contingent. Apparently, she knows that I'm a sucker for a race. Actually, it was also a perfect opportunity to go to San Antonio and spend some time with Shawn's parents as well. I'm proud to say that we both finished 2nd in our respective age groups and were the proud recipients of award winning medals!! Granted, we were racing in the "Fattest City in the Country" and there were only 300 people in the race, but I'm very proud of our achievements, especially Shawn! I train my butt off to run fast and he made it look easy! If this is any indication of Boston, those Kenyans better watch out :-)


I ran a 21:41 for a 6:59 pace (actually, my Garmin measured the course long at 3.27 miles for a 6:39 overall pace--I like that one better!!)

Shawn ran a 23:07 for a 7:26 pace

Friday, March 24, 2006

15 mile Run

Yep--it was cold this morning. Well, it was "Austin-cold." When I left the house, the news said it was 34 degrees outside...Raise the Panic Shields-there was a freeze alert! I'm a native Ohian. I can handle this wimpy temperature. However, I've been in Texas for almost eight years now so cold is cold. I bundled up...tights, nylon jacket, gloves and winter cap (not my usual baseball cap). I actually parked my car at work and took off from there. It's only 1/4 mile away from Runtex, which is where I usually start. My goal for this morning? 15 miles at a brisk pace. I was doing the usual Scenic/Mt. Bonnell loop which includes plenty of hill climbs for a brisk morning. It was an out-back run with me backtracking the same way I came (No Exposition). All in all, I had a fantastic run cardio-wise. My breathing felt good and steady. Mechanically, I was a little off. I attempted to run in my new Asics Gel Nimbus shoes again and they're just not the best long distance shoes for me. It's time I accept it and move on. I just love the shoes, so I keep trying. No such luck...

I even had a "Rocky" moment this morning. I kid you not! It happened when I finally made it to the top of Mt. Bonnell Road. There was no one else on the road except for me and the rising sun over Lake Austin. I literally pumped my fists in the air because it was such a powerful feeling. I know...I'm a big dork, but we've all had those moments of quiet personal victories. For me it was dragging my ass out of my warm bed, reaching the highest point of my tough run and being greeted with a view that made it totally worth it. I am the "Eye of the Tiger." :-)

On my way back to town, I actually ran into Running Richard on Lake Austin Blvd near Hula Hut. He was just beginning his ascent into the hills. I was happy that I was on my way home. We're both going out of town this weekend which is why we did our Long Runs today. I doubt that "Long Run" should be capitalized, but I give the term the respect it deserves. I picked it up for those last few miles and finished strong. Again, I was feeling great from a cardio standpoint. My hamstrings and knees were pretty sore by the end. I hopped in the shower at work and literally greeted my boss as we both stepped on the elevator at the same time. She just looked at me and said, "You ran this morning, didn't you?" I said very sheepishly (and I admit somewhat pretentiously), "Only 15 miles." Her only reply was, "You Suck." And with that, my Friday began on a good note.

15 Miles in 2:05:58 (avg 8:24 per mile)--That's Boston Qualifier pace overall!!

Mile 1 9:06
Mile 2 9:06
Mile 3 8:15
Mile 4 8:34
Mile 5 8:52
Mile 6 8:09
Mile 7 9:07 (can you guess which mile this was?? Mr. Mt. Bonnell, of course)
Mile 8 8:37
Mile 9 8:21
Mile 10 8:15
Mile 11 8:02
Mile 12 8:07
Mile 13 8:08
Mile 14 7:36
Mile 15 7:35

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My 1st Audio Blog!

this is an audio post - click to play

Dollar Bills Anyone? (A bit Risque)

Thursday night means a jaunt over to Runtex at 6pm for our Ladies Only Core Classwhere we squat, lunge and work the abs like nobody's business...I guess it doesn't necessarily HAVE to be Ladies Only. That's just the way it is. Besides, with the size of our poles these days, most guys would be intimidated to walk through the door. However, I must say, the view of us lifting, squatting and otherwise making love to our rods would rival any Gentleman's Club anyday! Demi Moore can kiss my ass because we are looking HOT! The only thing missing? A few dollar bills to take home with us at the end of the night.

Spring is in the air and bathing suit season must be around the corner because several of us moved up in our body bar weight tonight. Tonya, Di and I hopped up from an 18lb bar to a 22lb bar...Stacey is holding her own at 15lbs. Even Melanie was forced to go from 12lbs to 15 lbs tonight for some of the arm sets. The big winner? (as usual) Our fearless leader Jill! Girlfriend went from a 24lb bar to 27lbs in just a couple of weeks. And you know what? She did almost every rep from lunges, to squats, to chest presses, to skull crushers. That rocks. Her weight bar is almost 6 feet long! She almost had to have her own corner of the room. Hell, if I had a 6ft long pole, I'd WANT my own corner of the room :-)

She also had the line of the evening..."Who knew it would be so hard to get this pole up?" Believe me sister, if any guys were watching, it wouldn't be difficult at all.

You Go Girls. As usual, our core class rocked...even though I didn't get any $$$ at the end of class.

I'm in Podcast Heaven

(Spin/Run brick, Core Class)

Brrrr...winter is back! Ok, so it was a blustery low 40's this morning. Oh, the horror! I was thinking of riding outside, but I decided to go to Spin Class at 5:45am this morning instead. What a great decision it turned out to be. The workout was tough and I left a nice smattering of sweat on the floor below me and went through a couple of bottles of water. My avg. HR was 78% (warmup and cooldown included), but I spent most of the time between 80%-88%. I never hit 90% because the bike resistance kept sticking at a certain level. That's ok because I didn't really want to grind my knees anyways. After the 50 minute class, I hopped on the treadmill and ran 1.5 miles in 13:15...ahhh...nothing like that awkward transition from bike to run. After the treadmill, I spent the next 20 minutes or so stretching and doing abs. I found a new cool podcast to listen to called "A Better Day." This show features health tips and advice, as well as cool music. Did I mention I'm now addicted to downloading podcasts?? If you have I-Tunes loaded, you must check out the Podcast section. There are podcasts out there on virtually every topic in the world...I'm primarily stuck on shows about Triathlon, Relaxation, Health Advice, Running and Religion. By listening to these programs, I feel like a better person and it breaks the monotony of radio and music. Plus, it helps time go by on the treadmill when you just can't listen to Britney Spears "Slave 4U" anymore. The best part of these Podcasts?? THEY'RE FREE! It's like a whole new world of information and entertainment has been opened. Now, I have the itch to produce and host my very own podcast, but I really don't have the time or technical knowledge right now.

I didn't swim tonight...Couldn't get away from work because we actually had a birthday lunch brought in for two of our employees. Oddly enough, that's 1/3 of our company! We ordered in from Vinny's Italian Cafe. Luckily for me, I wasn't crazy about any of the pizzas they brought in so I ate one small piece and two side salads. Cake was Italian Creme Cake and I'm not a fan, soooo I didn't partake in the cake either. woo hoo!! I did have a small chocolate square for my crazy indulgence!

I'll do my 15 mile training run bright and early on Friday morning and then I'll swim at lunch. I'm not stressing about it. My "A" race right now is Boston. Therefore, I wanted to be rested and healthy for the run. I still have plenty of time for tri training.

7:30am coffee and 1 1/2 cups of Kashi GO LEAN Crunch, blueberries, yogurt
11:30pm 1/2 solar falafel
1:30pm house salad with vinagerette, 1 piece of pizza from Vinnys, 1 piece of chocolate...2 bottles of water with Crystal lite
5:40pm 1/2 solar falafel
7:30p-8:00p Made dinner at home: Grilled Chicken Pasta tossed in romaine salad...I grilled the chicken and boiled the whole wheat pasta all by myself--yee haw. I can be domestic. I just choose not to! Water and Fresca to drink.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Weird Cravings!!

There are Three Foods I Can't Live Without at the Moment:
1.) Kashi GO LEAN Crunch
2.) Peanut Butter
3.) Crystal Lite "on the go" Water mixes
4.) Sugarless Gum

There are moments where I get irrational cravings for each of these. Obviously, my body needs (or wants) some of the ingredients. I eat all of those items every day, if not multiple times a day! The Kashi has a wonderful mixture of protein, carbs and sweetness. I could easily put a box away in one day. No problem. Of course, it also has plenty of fiber, so I won't do that to myself or my co-workers. Peanut Butter has a great combination of protein and fat. I either buy the reduced fat/low sugar version or simply organic PB, which is nothing but peanuts and salt. As for Crystal Lite packets, it takes the doldrums out of 10 daily bottles of water! Lemonade is my favorite. I've been known to open the packet and drink the powder straight. Horrible? Yes...downright repulsive. But damn is it yummy. At least I'm not spreading it on a mirror and snorting it with a rolled up dollar bill, ok? My bad habits could be worse. Besides, the Crystal Lite Packets are sugar free. God only knows what I'm putting in my body. As for gum, I probably chew 5-6 pieces a day. Not sure what that's all about. Hopefully, I burn those few calories by the very act of chewing the gum!

In any event, I still eat something about every 3-4 hours to stay fueled. I'm just glad I'm no longer craving Nachos Bel Grande from Taco Bell!

Today's Gazelle Workout was a challenging 15 x 400s. However, after every set of 5, we had to decrease our time by 2-3 seconds. We had a 1 minute break in between each 400 and did one slow lap in between each set.

Warmup from Runtex to Track 1.66 miles 15:16 (9:11 pace)
Set #1 5 x 400s
1:43, 1:41, 1:42, 1:40, 1:43 AVG 1:42

Set #2 5 x 400s
1:36, 1:40, 1:36, 1:37, 1:38 AVG 1:37

Set #3 5 x 400s
1:34, 1:35, 1:34, 1:35, 1:34 AVG 1:344

Cool down back to Runtex 1.53 miles 13:46 9:00 pace
Total Workout--about 8 miles

5:00am 1/2 whole wheat tortilla with organic PB, cup of coffee
8:15 am left over quinoa with chicken, spinach, sundried tomatoes and feta
1:00pm salad from Whole Foods with tuna, turkey, edamame and other assorted veggies, 1/2 cup dry kashi, diet dr. pepper and 3-4 bottles of water throughout the morning.
7:00pm Zax with Shawn--we split Grilled polenta with blue cheese, I ordered the Steak Salad with blue cheese, virgin mango dacquiri

Monday, March 20, 2006

Recovery Day...Sorta

After a night of thunderstorms, I wasn't sure what our Morning run would entail. Gilbert sent us off on a 10 mile Recovery Run. Run "nice and easy" for 8 miles and then try to pick it up the last two. I didn't feel that bad at first...hamstrings were a bit tight, but other than that, I was doing o.k. I wore some really old shoes anticipating that the trail would be muddy. I was right.

Amy, Anne, Ashley, Jennifer and I started running towards Riverside. It didn't take long to realize that Anne and Ashley's "nice and easy" pace was different than mine today. The rest of us backed off slightly and let them go. The wind was gusting slightly and it even started raining briefly during the run. The run was difficult and I just felt slightly beat up. I kept doing form checks and readjusting my back, my strides, etc. We finished with 6 strides....

Mile 1 10:01
Mile 2 8:45
Mile 3 8:47
Mile 4 8:42
Mile 5 8:53
Mile 6 8:59
Mile 7 8:39
Mile 8 8:19
Mile 9 8:20
Mile 10 8:01
Mile .12 :54

Total: 10.12 miles in 1:28:23 (avg pace 8:44 per mile)


5am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with organic PB
8:15am Leftover Firebowl for breakfast--chicken stirfry with veggies
11:15am chocolate protein drink
1:45pm South Congress Cafe--1 piece of bread with butter, 1/2 House salad, blackened tuna tacos that included black beans, saffron rice, avacado and corn tortillas (had 1 1/2 tortillas)...it was so very yummy!!!!
6:30pm appetizers at the little Cafe next to Vespaio. We shared orzo and green beans with salami (very small amounts of both). We then split dessert and I had a small square of tiramisu and a small square of chocolate cherry torte. I also had a couple of bites of a cookie. While the rest drank wine, I was sipping on my iced tea!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Drizzle, but No Excuses

This morning was one of those days that was just made for lying in bed, unless you're an athlete with a couple of upcoming races on the calendar. I slept in to a comfortable 6:45am when the alarm sounded. As per usual, the cat had taken his place on my back (I'm a stomach sleeper) and as soon as the alarm went off, he began chiding me to wake up and feed him. My goal was to be in the water at Barton Springs Pool by 7:45am to swim for at least a mile. I'd follow that up with a 1hr 30min mile bike ride with Tracy and others I didn't really know. Tracy called first thing this morning to let me know she was recovering from a tough run and decided not to ride today afterall.

I looked out the window and it was slightly drizzly. Man, I wanted to just make some coffee and relax this morning. It's not that I dreaded the workout. I didn't, but it was just one of those days where you weren't sure if it was going to clear up and just pour down rain. I didn't want to be 1/2 way into my swim and get called out of the water if it started lightening. Or, get 15 miles into the ride and get stuck in a downpour. I immediately started going through different scenarios...I could swim at the YMCA later and then hit the 2pm swim class at the gym, I could hop on my trainer at the house and then swim later. In the end, I stuck with the original plan and headed to Barton Springs. I swam 4 laps in Barton Springs (each lap is a 1/4 mile). My form was definitely better than last week, but not great. My splits: 9:31, 9:51, 9:36, 9:55. I did the last two with gloves to help with my catch. By the end, I was definitely tired and my form was horrible. I followed it up with about 5 minutes of cool down and drills. I saw Tracy at the pool for a moment and she had the quote of the morning. "My legs may be sore, but my arms aren't." In true athelete style, she didn't give herself a total reprieve. That's the beauty of triathlon. If your legs hurt, a swim feels good. If your arms hurt, nothing beats a run or bike. There are no excuses. At this point, I'm glad I didn't make any either.

I decided that I was going to ride by myself. However, at this point, the weather was deteriorating. Again, I negotiated. Maybe it will clear up this afternoon...There's always spin class....In the end, I decided to head home and hop on the trainer for 1:30...not fun at all, but at least I was on my bike in my saddle. It did start raining harder as the morning wore on so I didn't regret not being outdoors at this point. I popped a movie in and stayed in the big chain ring. Every 10 minutes or so, I'd alternate between aero position and normal riding position. The new saddle seemed better. Maybe a few more adjustments still, but better. I was drenched with sweat by the time I was finished. I actually rode in my bike shorts and sports bra only. (something I would NEVER do in front of people). I finished up and felt incredibly proud of my accomplishments today. By 11:45am, I was finished with my workouts for the day.

7:15am cup of oatmeal, small amount of egg beaters scrambled with 1/2 slice of veggie cheese, can of Minute Maid Lite Lemonade (5 cals)
12:30p-12:45p finished 2 pieces of beef jerkey, 1/2 whole wheat tortilla with Morningstar Veggie Burger, 1/2 slice of veggie cheese...leftover cup of whole wheat pasta with no sauce...small apple...diet coke.
4:00pm cup of Kashi Go Lean, yogurt, blueberries
6:00 pm My standard Sunday meal of Firebowl Cafe...chicken stir fry, ginger white wine sauce, pick my own veggie mix, brown rice on the side. 1 Spring Roll. 1/3 of a small Mint Oreo Blizzard

Saturday, March 18, 2006

22 Miles Closer to Beantown!

Let the countdown begin. I am one month away from the Boston Marathon. After today's run, I can confidently say that I am ready.

Today, we completed our longest and toughest run of this training cycle. 22.1 miles of hills. It wasn't all uphill. There was plenty of downhill. Both can be equally brutal to your body. That was the goal for today really. Feel the pain and experience the pros and cons of running up and down. That is the Boston course afterall.

We started at Porter Middle School at 5:55am after carpooling from Runtex. The run starts downhill. We run North on Lamar towards the lake...North Side of Trail...Lake Austin Blvd...The hill climbs begin with Scenic...to Mt. Bonnell...back down Mt. Bonnell...35th...Exposition where we experience a series of hills...back to Lake Austin Blvd...Back on the Trail...Cross Trail and Head into the Barton Hills Neighborhood. They don't call it Barton Hills for nothing. More climbs. Big Climbs. This is Miles 16-18. We're tired and it's been drizzling all morning. Oddly enough, we're all feeling strong. I was having a little lower GI disturbance, but nothing that took me off the course at a moment's notice. We weren't running at a blazing speed, but that's not the point of the long run anyway. We go down a big hill. My knees are feeling the downhills. 3 miles to go and it's relatively flat the rest of the way. We're told to pick it up for the final miles. Surprisingly, I'm able to pick it up for the last 3 miles. Again, nothing too fast, but a noticeable pace change to take us home. We all felt great at the end. More sore than tired. We actually finish the workout by doing 3 sets of strides (high knee sprints) to open up our hips. It feels good. We're finished. We're ready. Very Ready.

I remember when running this distance in a morning would basically waste me the rest of the day. I came home and did nap for about an hour, but spent the afternoon with Shawn shopping, looking at homes and decorating styles. It felt good to not be totally useless for the whole day.

Tomorrow's schedule--1 hr swim followed by 25-30 miles on the bike. I bought a new seat today so I'm crossing my fingers. At this point, I hope my legs are recovered enough for a good ride.

Total Running Time: 22.1 Miles in 3:16:40 (8:55 overall pace)
Mile 1 8:37
Mile 2 8:45
Mile 3 9:19
Mile 4 8:46
Mile 5 9:13
Mile 6 9:10
Mile 7 9:05
Mile 8 9:00
Mile 9 8:32
Mile 10 9:40
Mile 11 9:02
Mile 12 9:03
Mile 13 9:02
Mile 14 7:03??
Mile 15 9:39??
Mile 16 9:12
Mile 17 9:04
Mile 18 9:25
Mile 19 8:58
Mile 20 8:28
Mile 21 8:29
Mile 22 8:24
Mile 23 1:03


5am whole wheat tortilla with organic PB, 12 oz of Gatorade
6a-9a 2 Clif Shots and Gatorade on the Run
10:30am Bowl of Kashi with blueberries and yogurt
11:30 am 1/2 whole wheat tortilla with turkey and slice of veggie cheese
2:45 pm Peanut Butter Clif Bar, couple of pieces of beef jerky, 1/2 soy latte
5:45p-6:30p Early dinner at Eddie Vs with Shawn: 1 slice of bread, salad with blue cheese, apple slices and green beans, we split a Snapper entree (it did have a butter sauce) and more green beans with onions and sun-dried tomatoes, we split the Godiva chocolate brownie, coffee

Friday, March 17, 2006

In Lieu of Green Beer, I Think I'll Train

I had so much fun stuff to post, that I forgot about my training for this morning. I had an hour-long bike ride scheduled on the calendar. Because of my seat fiasco (see yesterday's entry), I was not able to ride my bike. I even got up at 5:30am this morning to try to switch seats from my old road bike to my new one just so I could ride my bike. No such luck...the seats aren't compatible and my old stem needs to be cut off because of the Kestrel design. Oh well, I guess I have a lunch project today.

In any event, I head to the gym and hopped on one of the spin bikes. There was no official class this morning so I did my own thing while listening to Episode 10 of the triathlon podcast "Get Your Geek On." Actually, every 5 minutes I alternated between a fast cadence spin with little resistance and an out of the saddle pedal stroke with medium resistance. I didn't do anything too difficult because I have a 22 mile hilly training run tomorrow morning for Boston. After the 1:00 bike, I hopped on the treadmill and did 1 mile at a 9:00 pace. Another good workout even though I would've preferred to be on my own bike this morning!

5am: 1/2 whole wheat tortilla with organic PB and sugar free jelly
9:15am cup of kashi/Uncle Sam's combo with blueberries and yogurt, cup of coffee and 4 bottles of water (I'm counting 2 bottles during and post workout)
1:15pm Pei Wei Again--Pei Wei Spicy with Shrimp and veggies, brown rice, bottle of water. fortune cookie. 1 hershey kiss
5:15 pm Diet coke

Sleep Tight, thanks to Ambien

I can't believe all of the stories coming out about Ambien, the sleeping pill. Having never taken it, I can't say whether it's good or bad. However, my Running Husband Mike had an interesting experience that can only be likened to an acid trip of the best kind! At Jason's Farewell party, we got on the subject of the Ambien press as of late...It's causing people to drive off the road and sleep walk. My favorite is that it caused one woman to binge eat and gain 100 lbs. She would sleep walk to the kitchen in the middle of the night and stuff her face with cookies, chips and ice cream. First of all, why do you have all of that crap in your house in the first place??? Buy some spinach lady. I guarantee you'll sleep through the night.

I was skeptical of all of these recent lawsuits until Mike told us his story. It seems that he and his REAL fiance' Hava took Ambien and didn't go straight to bed as instructed by the prescription. He thought it best to do some internet searching when the hallucinations began. The screen and words were moving around...The cast members on the "Lost" website were moving and "jockeying for position" on the page(his words, not mine). He attempted to go to bed and Hava recounted some hilarious conversations he was trying to have, including asking her to give him a pedicure!! I know Mike and I can assure you that he is not a "pedicure guy." Hava, of course, is freaking out because she's not experiencing the same effects. In fact, she's just probably freakin' tired and wants to go to sleep by this point.

They woke up the next morning and Mike remembered NOTHING!! weird.......(X-files music)

WARNING: Do not take Ambien...unless you want a pedicure.

New Mileage Splits in Seattle

Last night, a gaggle of Gilbert's Gazelles (a.k.a. a shitload of healthy people), got together to say farewell to one of our own. Jason Epstein is moving from Austin to Seattle to work for the man. No, really...He's going to work for THE MAN...Bill Gates. About 18 or so runners and triathletes gathered to bid our buddy bye-bye. Jason is an amazing athlete. In only a few short years of training, he has made enormous strides that many of us can only dream about doing. We like to poke fun at his obsessive compulsive attention to training, detail, HR, seconds, splits, wattage and everything else that measures a good workout. Truth is, we're all jealous of his dedication, determination, intensity and will to succeed. And boy does he!!! After being a normal mortal middle of the pack runner like the rest of us, Jason turned in an amazing 3:10:01 Chicago Marathon to qualify himself for the Big Dance in Boston. Even he wasn't sure if it was possible. That's where that dedication, determination, intensity and will come in to play. He never cuts workouts short. If coach says to run 20 100 meter strides, Jason does it. While the rest of us are sucking wind, sipping Gatorade and finding ways to sneak to our cars before coach sees us, Jason is the one left on the track doing the repeats. Thanks Jason!! You've inspired us all to pay more attention to our Garmins. Those Seattle athletes have NO IDEA what they have in store for them...You will be awesome!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bike Karma

For those that know me and my history of triathlons, you are no doubt familiar with my bad bike karma. Out of the 9 or so tris I've completed, I've had some sort of bike mechanical issue in at least 1/2 of them, usually in the form of a flat tire...or two...or three...or four (yep, 4 flat tires in one race isn't fun). I've never had a DNF, but I've been mentally and emotionally close to throwing my bike on the side of the road and walking home.

I bought a Kestrel bike last Fall. I actually bought it on e-bay and I LOVE it. We're still getting to know each other. Some days the bike feels great and other days it doesn't. The good news? I haven't had one flat tire! Of course, that's scary in itself because you know it will happen someday. Let's just hope it's not in a race. This morning I was scheduled to do a short 30 minute ride with a couple of pickups. I hopped on the bike this morning at 7am and it felt great. About 5 minutes into the ride, I heard something metal hit the ground, but I didn't know what it was. I just assumed that I ran over something. About 100 or so yards down the road. I stopped at a stop sign and my freaking seat fell to to the side!! It was hanging by one screw--barely!! Damn, if it's not one thing it's another with my bicycling. It wasn't just loose. This thing was hanging by a thread. I didn't want to quit 5 minutes into a measley 30 minute ride. I tighened the one good screw as much as I could with my fingers (I didn't bring any tools with me since it was such a short ride--grrr) and rode on a loose seat for the next 25 minutes. Today's bike workout turned out to be as much of a core workout than anything!

Let's hope my 45 minute swim is less eventful.

I decided to hit the pool around 12:15pm. I was scheduled to swim 45 minutes. At first I thought I would just hop in the pool and do an endurance swim for 45 minutes...no real speed, no real drills...just swim. I was exhausted after about 18 minutes :-) How is it that I can run for almost 4 hours straight, but can't swim more than 15 minutes? In any event, I abandoned the straight swimming idea as I could feel my form starting to break down a bit. I slowed it all down and began to work on some drills. Catch-Up (Touch-Pull-Roll), 3-6-3 kick/stroke. In between each drill, I would also swim a lap to work on the drill I had just completed. I spent the last few minutes with a little bit of speed work. I did 5 x 50s. It's not a lot, but I had them between 55 sec and 1 min consistently. I think it's a vast improvement from some previous times. I cooled down with a 200 swim for a total pool time of 42 minutes. I also have to point out the fact that I actually lapped the guy who was swimming in the next lane. I LAPPED SOMEONE!!! Granted, his form was the equivalent of a fish gasping for its last breath or Elaine from "Seinfeld" trying to dance under water, but I don't care. My body passed someone else's in the water! That's good enough for me today.

8:30am apple on the way to work and a bottle of water
9:45 am Kashi/Uncle Sams, yogurt, blueberries, coffee and bottle of water with Crystal Lite
1:30pm Post-Swim Salmon Caesar Salad from Zax, couple of bites of brown rice (needed a carb fix), 1/2 cup of Kashi Mighty Bites, Can of Minute Maid Lite Lemonade (5 cals)

7:30pm (bad things happen when I don't eat every four hours or so) We had a "going away" celebration for our fellow runner/triathlete Jason who is moving to Seattle. After much debate, we ended up at a Mexican Restaurant called El Rey. I proceeded to eat way too many chips and also had 2 smoked chicken enchiladas (I scraped all the cheese off), refried beans and rice. I ate every morsel. I'm chalking it up to my "dietary cheat" meal. Actually, it probably wasn't horrible, but the only thing that resembled a vegetable of any kind was the salsa with which I was dipping my chips. I also didn't drink any alcohol and settled in for water and a diet coke. Let's just call it my 20-miler carb loading!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

MasterCard Loves Me!

Bike Adjustment and Accessories $50
Swim Program $115
Running Coach $80
Boston Marathon Entry $90
Airfare to Boston Marathon $200
Entry Fee for Capital of Texas Olympic Triathlon $85
Entry Fee for Eagleman Half Ironman Triathlon $190
Airfare to Baltimore, Maryland for Eagleman $225
Hotel for Eagleman $1000
Shipping Bikes $100
Pre and Post Race Massages $400
Crossing the Finish Lines at the 110th Boston Marathon in April, the Capital of Texas Triathlon in May and the Eagleman Half Ironman in June: PRICELESS!!!
(Thank God because I don't have any money left for anything else!!!)
No wonder why so many Americans are overweight and obese these days. It's much cheaper to buy some freaking twinkies than it is to buy a new pair of running shoes!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tempo Run Gut Check (literally)

It's the workout we all love to hate. It's the workout that you like because it seems short, but you hate because it FEELS long. We essentially treat this 4 mile tempo run like a race. After our slow two mile warmup (22 min) and drills, we lined up at Mile Marker 0. I found myself towards the front of the pack in unfamiliar territory. I was out of my comfort zone at the start. My usual training partners, Amy and Ann, are on Spring Break this week so neither were there. I lined up with Jason and Thon, both of whom are incredibly fast, but neither were really trying to set a PR for this tempo run. I decided that I would pace with them as long as I could. My previous PR time was a 28:04 and I really had no intention of contending that effort today. However, as it always happens, when Gilbert says "GO," I kick into race mode. The first thing I noticed was that it was actually light out this morning making it easier to see the trail. We didn't have to be as cautious as usual. My first Mile felt slightly easier than it normally does. I adjusted into my breathing pattern faster. That's a good sign.
Mile 1: 7:05 Jason shouted out a 7:14, but I knew he was wrong...Or was I wrong? I tried to just block it out and keep going.
Mile 2: 6:39 Holy crap--too fast, too fast. I was still with Thon and Jason although Jason was ready to pull away. Thon was about 5 yards ahead at the turnaround. I made a concerted effort to slow down ever so slightly.
Mile 3: 6:49 Still fast, but it looks like I'm going to beat my previous PR unless I just tank on the Final Mile. Jason was way ahead at this point and Thon kept looking back to make sure I was there. I knew he wanted to pick it up, but I sensed he was holding back for me. This was a tough mile for me, but I kept hanging on.
Mile 4: 6:58 It's a good thing we didn't have another Mile as I was definitely slowing down. I just kept trying to hover around the 7:00 mark. I didn't hear anyone catching me on my heels so I made an attempt to catch Thon who was 10-15 yards ahead.
Mile .04 : 16 seconds
TOTAL 4.04 Miles: 27 min 49 sec (6:53 average pace)
It was an unheard of and unthinkable goal for me a year ago. I'm very happy. I, however, did not have the performance of the morning. That award goes to Thon for finishing his tempo (he got me by about 8 seconds), turning around to congratulate me and then walking to the side of the trail to puke. Ahhh.....the beauty of a tempo run. It really is a Gut Check.
5am 1/2 whole wheat tortilla with organic PB and sugar free jelly, small cup of coffee
7:45 am 1/2 cup leftover quinoa (so that I could empty the container and start the dishwasher)
9:45am cup of KASHI/Uncle Sam's mixed with yogurt and blueberries, coffee and water.
1:00pm Pei Wei Chicken Lettuce wraps and some tofu and veggies with brown rice, fortune cookie
6pm-7:30pm Fabulous Thank You Dinner from the Freescale Austin Marathon (thanks John and Stacey Conley!) 1 small piece of bread, garden salad with vinagerette and blue cheese, salmon(with butter already on it), veggies, and 1/2 cup mash taters--only ate a bit...Dessert was half of a piece of raspberry chocolate torte.

It's a Good Pain, Right?

Wow--at least I know that I still have plenty of muscles in this body. How do I know this? Because they're currently hollering at me this morning for working them so hard yesterday on the Wilke Hill and Core Class! My glutes specifically have lots to say to me thanks to the hill repeats. That's o.k. because it takes the attention off my lower back which has been causing me the most frustration lately. Just when you think you've surpassed the "initial pain" part of this training process, it's good to know that you can be humbled right back to reality. I actually noticed it in the middle of the night when I went to turn over in my sleep. The soreness in my glutes actually woke me up as I switched from my side to my stomach. Ugghhh...I felt like an 80 year old as I groaned to switch positions. I think even my cat was like, "What the hell is your problem, Mom?" At least I hope it was my cat and not a complete strange voice.

My original goal for today was to get up early and swim for 45 minutes and then run for 4 miles at lunch. I said "original" goal because I decided to sleep a bit longer instead. I still woke up on my own at 6:15am with plenty of time to go work out, but I really wanted to ease into the morning today...Coffee, water, cereal, a little Matt and Katie, update blog. It was a chilly morning and the thought of hopping into the 68 degree water of Barton Springs pool did not appeal to me. There's plenty of time for the workout today. In fact, Plan B is to do my short run at lunch and follow that with the swim at the YMCA immediatelt afterward. Plan C--Run at lunch and swim after work. Regardless, it will get done. Right now, I wish I had a hot tub to soak a bit before work. Oh well, my coffee and a warm shower will have to do for now.

I hate working out in the middle of the day...ugh..I hate the process of having to shower all over again. blah...I can make a million excuses for not interrupting my workday. BOY, DO I STAND CORRECTED FOR TODAY! I left the office around 1:00pm with the goal of running a slow 4-5 miles, followed by a swim at the YMCA. I wasn't particularly looking forward to it, but it's a pretty glorious day in Austin, Texas with sunshine and mid 70s temps. How could I possibly complain that #1) I don't want to be outside #2) I have a job that's flexible enough to allow me to workout when I want to! I started my run with the intention of running about a 9:30 pace. It's a recovery run from yesterday. I was only supposed to run about 4 miles, but I decided to extend it by a mile thanks to Mr. Matthew McConaughey. What?? Well, it's a long story, but let's just say that there have been some midday Matthew sightings on the trail this week and I was hoping that lady luck would smile on me today. The South By SouthWest Film and Music Festival is taking place in Austin this week so there are plenty of celebs in and around the downtown area. Yesterday, a friend of mine saw him running near the Congress Bridge, so what's a sweaty girl to do? Instead of stopping at the 1st Street Bridge, I extended my run to the Congress Bridge. Alas, there was no Matthew to behold, but with a gorgeous day like today, I didn't mind. In fact, it was one of the best and most enjoyable runs I've had in a long time. Although, it was difficult keeping my pace at a 9:30. I had a couple of sub 9:00s in there, but I felt very comfy the entire time (with the exception of my lower back). It was so cool to see who is actually out on the trail in the middle of the day during Spring Break week. I'm used to running before the sun comes up that I forget that this treasure is utilized by others during the day as well. Young kids on bikes, Moms with strollers, business folks also on their lunch breaks, tourists with cameras taking photos of our skyline and the Stevie Ray Vaughn Statue. I even ran a short while with a butterfly. It kept up with the pace for a while and I had to chuckle. Lots of people run with their dogs, but not many people get to run with a butterfly. I'm lucky...

I finished up at the YMCA where I had parked, grabbed my clothes and bathing suit and begrudgingly went indoors. I really wanted to call back into work and say, "Can I work outside today?" However, I had a swim on the calendar and I'm trying to teach myself to "train as if it's NOT a choice." (taken from a fellow blogger). I'm one of the many people that dreads my swim until I get in the water. Once I get going, I love it! I had a 1400 meter workout planned today that consisted mostly of drill repeats...Zippers, Catch-Up (TPR), 6-3-6 Kicks, 10-10 Kicks, fist swimming. For the most part, the workout felt good. I definitely had some awkward laps, but I'm still just trying to gain some strength, consistency and stability with my form. I know my underwater catch is getting better, but I'm still not getting a lot of distance on the pull and roll portion of the stroke. practice, practice, practice...I plan to rejoin T3 in a week or so because I know they'll help me. I also plan on a long open water swim on Friday morning with the wetsuit. All the drills in the world never prepare me for the open water treachery of race morning. However, I just want to feel strong in the water and not expend too much energy too soon.

6:45 am Kashi Go LEAN Crunch with mixed berries and vanilla yogurt, coffee, bottle of water
11:00am cup of dry Kashi (I love this stuff), a bottle of water and 1 EAS Body for Life drink (100 calories)
3:30pm Post-Workout lunch of garden salad, 1/2 turkey sandwich with slice of veggie cheese and a Veggie Soup with Ramen Noodles from "Fantastic Foods" (soup had 200 calories), 2 bottles of water and a diet coke.
7:00pm Zax for Dinner...Virgin Mango Daquiri, 1 roll before dinner, Salmon Caesar Salad with parmesan. I ordered a 2nd Virgin Daquiri because I'm crazy like that, but only took a few sips. I really didn't need the 2nd glass of sugar.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Gee Wilke-ers!

Carrie's commute to Runtex at 5:20am

Dear God,

Please change Coach Gilbert's mind about today's workout. Don't make us do Wilke Road Repeats. C'mon God. I went to church this weekend. I'm holding to my Lenten promise of no alcohol (except for that Crested Butte excursion). If you love me, you'll have changed his mind. (oh yeah--thanks for the beautiful weekend). Love, me.

Carrie's reaction after arriving at Runtex at 5:40am

DAMN!!! We're still doing Wilke.


Carrie's reaction after the 9 mile+ workout was over at 7:30am


Thank you for giving me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

I couldn't change coach's mind, but I went out there and faced the Wilke Demon once again. The workout is a 3 mile warmup run to the big hill. We then do drills, 10x repeats up the hill, 3x backwords repeats and then 3 sprints 3/4 of the way up. And just when you think your quads can't stand anymore, you have the 3 mile run back to Runtex.

When I accepted that the workout wasn't changing, I told myself I was only going to do 7 forward repeats today. Of course, once everyone got there and we finished drills, Coach said, "Boston People--10x today. Everyone else--7x." And there it was. For the next month, I am a "Boston person." I mustered the courage, changed my mental thinking and hammered up 10x. After 7 repeats, Coach Gilbert was thinking about stopping me (since lots of folks were already done with their 7), but he said I looked strong. That's all I needed because I've NEVER felt strong after 7 repeats. I hammered up 3 more times thanks to the encoragement from Gilbert.

Heartbreak Hill can kiss my butt. Bring it on. I'm not going to set a PR at Boston, but I'm sure going to have fun the entire 26.2 miles.

From 6p-7p, I also attended my core class which is an hour of weight bars (I'm using the 18lb bar for arms and legs) and stability ball for abs. Somewhere underneath my belly goo is a hard rock stomach just waiting to be seen :-) We also traded some interesting recipe ideas for healthy cooking. It was a fun class indeed.

5:15am Balance Bar and teaspoon of PB, bottle of water
8:15am Quinoa with Sun-dried tomatoes and spinach (Quinoa is a grain-like rice or cous cous--that also has a ton of protein as well). I'm learning to love this stuff. 2 cups of coffee and a Fresca.
11:30am Leftover Firebowl Cafe--chicken stirfry with veggies and brown rice...cup of sugar free jello
4pm Bowl of Kashi GO LEAN/Uncle Sams with Vanilla low sugar yogurt...Damn, I forgot my blueberries at home. Bottle of Water...diet Dr. Pepper
7:45pm Another hodge podge of food...sweet potato patty, spinach salad with salsa (thanks to the girl's in my core class that had me craving salsa), cup of Quinoa with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach, diet coke.

*** too much soda today. I didn't sleep well and was draggin in the afternoon!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hit Me Like a Ton of BRICKS!

This weekend was a slap in the face for my triathlon training! Weather was great in Austin--a bit hot (88-90), but certainly not excrutiating.

On Saturday, Shawn and I did a bike/run brick. We rode about 23 miles on South Mopac/Veloway. I hopped off the bike and ran 3 miles. The bike was extremely tough for me. My back has been sore and I still don't have my seat adjusted correctly. I've got to get it taken care of soon because I can't put in long mileage right now. As usual, the run felt much better after about 10 minutes. Those first few minutes off the bike are a killer, making you question why we do this in the first place!

Sunday morning was brick #2. God Bless Barton Springs Pool. It's such a good open water simulator. Shawn and I got out there around 9am, slapped on the wet suits and began an agonizing 3/4 mile swim! Wow...swimming 25 meters in a pool is a heck of a lot different than doing 1/4 mile without a wall. I know that and it still shocked me. It was as if we both forgot how to do this wetsuit open water stuff. I didn't wear a watch because I just really wanted to get out there and see what I had. I practiced some of the drills from T3. I worked on my touch-pull-roll style as well as my catch under the wall. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find a good rhythm with my breathing. Every 3 strokes, every 5 strokes, every stroke...very inconsistent. The good news? I finished the 3/4 miles. The bad news? I've got a way to go! After the swim, Shawn went off for a 5.5 mile run and I mounted the bike for a 45 minute ride into hills and a headwind. I was actually just going to grab some coffee, but I wanted to get back in the saddle and face the wind demon. I understand Eagleman is nice and flat, but very windy! No time like the present to practice. I headed out from Barton Springs Parking Lot and rode South Mopac to the Greenbelt turnaround and came back. The first few minutes were painful from yesterday's ride. My butt ached...I eventually got adjusted well enough, but not great. I'm still hunting for that "sweet spot" on my new bike. It may involve a new seat that's more female friendly.

All in all, it was a decent weekend, but it illustrated that I definitely have some work to do. I'm overly confident in the run, but the swim and bike promise to be a challenge.

Saturday 3/11 Nutrition:

8am slice of leftover pizza with canadian bacon, spinach, cheese, broccoli, tomatoes and peppers
small veggie sausage patty, coffee, bottle of water
11:45am 1 teaspoon of organic PB, turkey wrap with spinach
1:30pm 1 clif shot during ride and medium Sonic Powerade slush post-workout.
7pm South Congress Cafe dinner: house salad with dressing on side, split bowl of Wild Boar Chili Pozole with Shawn including 1/2 flour tortilla. Entree was jalapeno venison meatloaf, asparagus, carrots and about 1 table spoon o mashed taters. Dessert: 4 semi-small bites of chocolate raspberry torte and coffee. My drink was club soda with splash of cranberry and lime.

Sunday 3/12 Nutrition:

8am bottle of water, turkey with spinach on whole wheat tortilla, mustard sauce (probably had the most calories)
12 noon-diet coke, 3 hamburger sweet pickle slices, 1/2 breakfast taco with 1/2 whole wheat tortilla, egg beaters, salsa, spinach and fat free cheese...fresh fruit including apple, pineapple, canteloupe and grapes. Bottle of water with 1/2 crystal lite.
7:00pm Firebowl Cafe for my usual Sunday night cuisine of chicken stir fry with veggies, ginger white wine sauce and brown rice on the side.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Price of Love

One of our clients at the ad agency is a local jeweler and they want to step up their image with their engagement and wedding selection. This led into some interesting and hilarious conversations about the ring purchase and engagement rings in general. We were trying to concept a radio script where we're basically saying, "Ladies--you better tell him exactly what style you want so he doesn't screw it up." Knowing that this would probably not go over well on the air, we discussed ways to get that point across without offending the hell out of anyone. Of course, it also led into the "What's right" and "What's wrong" when it comes to this momentous moment.

The engagement and wedding ring is something that the woman will (hopefully) wear every day for the rest of her life. It will last longer than anything that she will ever own or wear. Longer than any sweater, longer than a car, longer than some photos, longer than a guy's pair of underwear or socks--(well, maybe not). Hell, the ring may last longer than the marriage! That's a lot of pressure for you guys! God knows I wouldn't want to deal with making just the right purchase. Therefore, it's pretty imperative that she better like the ring or at least approve of it in advance, right? Well, maybe not. Part of me feels this way. Sure, I'd like to have a say in this important purchase. I know what I like and I'm not afraid to admit it. I don't buy new running shoes without trying them on first. God knows, most women have their entire wedding planned by the time they're ten. Why wouldn't we have the ring picked out?

The other part of me is the hopeless romantic who wants the element of surprise...having complete faith that you'll love it no matter what because of the thought and emotion behind it.
But, let's get real...Would a lady purchase a drill press or a car for her husband without consulting his tastes and recommendations? I doubt it. Better yet, would you purchase a newbike without being fitted properly and finding out what your style is? Hell no--that would make for some uncomfortable moments...about as uncomfortable as giving your lady a ring that she thinks is hideous.

Is it wrong to suggest that the woman pick out her ring? By the same token, does it take the romance away if the guy asks what his girlfriend likes? Is it wrong to admit it if you don't like it? Again, you're stuck with it for the rest of your life!

I definitely don't have the answers to these questions because there is no right or wrong. Thank God we're all different or life would be BORING!! (guys--just don't let your Mom pick out the ring. No girl is ever good enough for her little boy and her ring choice will reflect her biased opinion of you).

Please note: I had this same conversation with the boyfriend last night, so this entry is in no way a hint or a threat. I swear. Really. I do. (oops-did I just say "I do?")

Workout: 11.5 mile run Runtex/Scenic Loop--hills! 8:55 avg pace at 5:30am

5:10am 1/2 Balance Bar
7:30am other 1/2 Balance Bar
10:30 am Solar Falafel and half pita
1:30pm Salad with shrimp, mustard seed dressing, 1/2 apple, diet coke. Because service was so slow, they gave us free chocolate brownie dessert--damn. I shared half with my friend Cathy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Crested Butte Recap

Below is a random recap of my hand written journaling while I was in Crested Butte, Colorado over the weekend. Cell phone is spotty at best and internet connections are fortunate when you find an open terminal in the Grand Lodge.

Sunday, March 5th
What a wonderful night of rest with no alarm clock and no agenda. I wake up at 6:30am. It sounds early, but it was actually 10 hours of sleep! Wow-I apparently needed to catch up. I was the first one up. I lit the fireplace and started coffee. The thermometer says 15 degrees outside. Sun is coming up over the snowy mountains. I love this place and am fortunate to be here. Right here. Right now. I stretch, do some ab work, push ups, sun salutations. At about 7:15am, I decide to go for a small jog. I stress "jog." It's cold and we're 10,000 feet above sea level. Immediately after starting, I decide to ascend Cement Creek Road. My HR increases and it's tough to breathe. I want to quit, but I committed to 30 minutes. It's such an amazing morning. I am feeling very "in the moment." I guess there's no other way to feel since my heart appears to be exploding from my chest! Fifteen minutes passes and I turn around. The way back is much easier. I actually want to go longer, but I don't. My only goal was 30 minutes and I did it. Back at the condo, the fire is burning and coffee is ready. My girlfriends are still in their PJs. It's another perfect morning in Crested Butte. On the agenda--a full day of skiing and that's it. My day is mine. My time is mine. No 2-a-day workouts.

8am Uncle Sams Cereal/Granola mix with Organic Vanilla yogurt. A little skim milk with blueberries, strawberries, 1/2 banana, coffee.

11:30am 1/2 balance bar on the slopes
1:30pm Pan Seared Tuna Salad, nibbles of antipasta appetizer plate including 3 pieces of procuitto, a small piece of cheese and 1/2 breadstick, diet coke.
4pm 1 1/2 glasses of wine, 1/2 balance bar, bite of cookie, small cup of warm apple cider
7:30pm Cooked dinner in condo while watching Academy Awards: Salad, chicken breast, asparagus, roasted potatoes, 1/2 glass of wine, dessert was 1/2 clif bar.

Monday, March 6th
Skiing is scary. There is something about going fast and losing control with no protection on a mountain of snow, ice and rocks. Call me crazy, but that shit is downright deadly! Skiing, however, is also exhilarating. Where else can you get breathtaking views of mountains, sky and earth at the same time? I hadn't skied in a year and it was only my 2nd ski trip ever! I put on my skis and got nervous-really nervous. I almost didn't want to do it. 'What if I fall and tumble down the mountain?' 'What if I break my leg or tweak my knee a month before the Boston Marathon?' My girlfriends are much more confident on skis, which is funny since I'm the one who's more daring, athletic and risky. We decide to go up the lift together for the first time. I'm tense the entire time-pretty much hating it! They keep stopping and waiting for me. Once we got to the bottom, I BEG them to go their separate way. I'm not trying to be bitchy, but I just have to tackle this in my own way without the pressures of people watching...and waiting. I spend the next two hours by myself traversing the mountain doing run after run and going up lift after lift. My favorite part of skiing is going up the lift...the views, the silence, the gratitude of being alive.
After a couple of hours, I start to enjoy it again. I start to love it. The slopes aren't crowded so I am able to go slow and take nice wide turns down some of the runs. I meet my friends for lunch on the mountain again and we eat outside with jackets off. After lunch, I go off by myself again and ski for a couple more hours. By 3:30pm, my knees and quads are feeling it. Time to go in for the day...We eat dinner at a funky Thai Restaurant and veg out in the hot tub later that evening. I'm in bed by 9:30pm.

8am coffee, 1/2 Clif Bar, Uncle Sams and Granola mix with berries, yogurt and 1/2 banana
10am small bite of chicken breast that I had packedon the slopes--protein
1:15pm Caesar Salad with chicken (brought from condo), beef and bean chili on top, diet coke
3pm 2 glasses of white wine
6pm Thai Restaurant called the Ginger Cafe: Flat Bread with shrimp, sprouts, red peppers, cheese, cup of miso soup, chicken stir fry with red peppers, onions, cilantro, green tea
8pm-1 small piece of chocolate and PB, about the size of hershey kiss.

Tuesday, March 7th
Our last full day in Crested Butte. I miss Shawn and can't wait to show him this part of the world. I've already resigned the fact that I want to take a summer trip and bring him with me. Kim left this morning and I ran 8.5 miles in 1:18. I had only planned to run for an hour, but it was AMAZING. Probably 38-40 degrees. I ran in shorts and fleece. The first 40 minutes were all uphill...switchbacks up the side of a mountain. slow, painful, beautiful. I traversw back and forth and keep climbing the roads of Crested Butte South until I have run (jogged) about 40 minutes and find a breathtaking overlook that looks down upon the town I just transcended. Mud, dirt and snow are on my legs and feet. awesome. I catch my breath and audibly give thanks for the ability. As I descend the hills I had just climbed, I find myself wanting to just KEEP RUNNING. I could go forever. I'm not fast, but it is comfortable and the views are too much. I stop after 8.5 miles so that I can stretch and spend the morning at the condo. We went our seperate ways this afternoon. Michelle went to ski, Susan went to get a manicure. I walked around town, got coffee, wrote a bit and then ducked into a bar. Go figure! There's nothing like Stoli Vanilla and Sprite at 3pm in the afternoon! Plus, it's a great way to meet the locals and get a real feel for the community. It's always interesting getting their take on this little slice of heaven. I enjoy the solitude of doing my own thing. I'm not much of a shopper so that has no appeal. I've got a massae scheduled nest week so I don't need that. Just one more day with no schedule and no regime. I Enjoy it!

We meet back up around 4:30pm for a glass of wine at the lodge, followed by shopping and then an early dinner at Sushi Restaurant Lobar...I went a little crazy on my last night of drinking.
Vodka at 3pm, Wine at 4:30p, and Saki for dinner. I spaced it quite well, but I was definitely tired on Tuesday night. Another night of turning in at 9:15am.

8am 2 bottles of water, 1/4 Clif Bar, coffee, Uncle Sams/Granola with berries and yogurt
11:45am (post run) slice of pizza with egg, procuitto, spinach and cheese and small cup of leftover chicken stirfry.
3pm Balance Bar and Pretzels at Lodge over a glass of red wine
6:30pm Sushi Restaurant--edamame, green salad, and plenty o' sushi with salmon, tuna, etc.

All in all, Crested Butte achieved everything it needed to achieve for me--just a little time of not being so freaking wound tight and high strung. It made me realize that I take this training stuff a little too serious sometimes (don't we all??). It doesn't mean that I'm going to stop, but perhaps it means that I can view it differently and not necessarily always be so results-oriented. All of my training stems from wanting to better my times, get faster, train harder, etc. So much so that I've forgotten to enjoy it sometimes. This weekend allowed me to step back and actually enjoy it. I spent a lot of time by myself--skiing, running, walking around. Some people don't like to be alone with themselves. I loved it.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Striving for Balance in Crested Butte

"Living in Balance," "Access to the Power of Your Higher Self," "A Course in Miracles," "Zen and the Art of Making a Living..." Just a few of the books we are studying on our sabbatical in Colorado. Of course, being that it's a girl's trip, we also have plenty of time for "US," "People" and "In Touch" Magazines! It's amazing how easy balance finds it's way to you when you're in the mountains. In the "Real World," it's hard to settle down and relax. It's hard to surrender. But you know what? It's starting to work. Yesterday, a couple of the girls wanted to ski. My friend Susan and I weren't quite ready to tackle the mountains. Therefore, I napped. Yep, I read and then I napped. Wow...

We picked Michelle and Kim up from the mountain and headed immediately to "The Secret Stash." It's a funky/hippy pizza place known for its atmosphere, great salads and amazing pizza. It is NOT known for quick service. That's ok. We're on vacation. What's the hurry? We ate lots of salad so by the time the pizza came, we were stuffed. We each ate a piece just to say we did. Needless to say, we have leftovwers. We got back to the condo, lit a fire, made hot tea and just relaxed in each other's company. We were in bed by 8:30pm! (9:30pm Texas TIme). My first night of relaxation and balance worked.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

DC Comedy Fest or Bust!

It's official: My comedy troupe "Gag Reflex" is invited to perform at this year's D.C. Comedy Festival and we're going! Taking place April 5-8, 2006, the 2nd Annual dccomedyfest brings the best stand up, sketch, improv and short film comedy at EIGHT VENUES around DC for FOUR AWESOME NIGHTS of cutting-edge comedy. "Gag Reflex" is slated to perform on Saturday, April 8th and we get a whopping 20 minute set. At this point, we're flying in on Saturday morning and coming back to Austin on Sunday night so we'll be in the air about 100x longer than we'll actually be on the stage. It's more of an overnight comedy slumber party than anything, but that's ok...Not only will it be my first trip to our Nation's Capital, but it's also the first time I've travelled to an out-of-state Comedy Festival. What's next--Letterman?? Ha ha...Actually, they are holding Letterman auditions at this event so maybe I can think of a way to crash them.


A good thing about this trip? I'll be in taper mode for Boston so I won't miss a long run!

A bad thing about this trip? It will still be Lent so I won't be able to drink with my castmates!

As always, the first aspect of my training to fail when I get busy is my swimming. That's precisely why I need to continue with it in an organized group. I plan on Swimming tonight and then doing my 20 mile run tomorrow morning before I board a plane for a weekend of skiing and chick-bonding in Colorado. I'll ski a couple of days, but I'm also hoping to get some runs in as well. Mother Nature and her fury will dictate a lot of that for me!

Good stuff on the horizon...


7:45am Kashi Go Lean Crunch with Mixed Fruit and Yogurt

1pm turkey and hummus wrap on spinach tortilla, 1/2 cup of tomato soup, 2 bottles of water, teaspoon of PB

5pm 3/4 cup of chocolate protein shake, 2 teaspoons of Haagen daaz light chocolate ice cream--damn radio reps brought us ice cream!

8:15pm two cups of whole wheat pasta with spinach and chicken marinara sauce, spinach salad with fat free balsalmic vinegarette, bottle of water and fresca.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My Bloated Track Workout

This morning's workout is always one of my favorites: 800's on the track. Our task was to do between 6 and 8 repeats between 3:20-3:25 per repeat. Amy and I did long long run warmup from Runtex to the track for a total of 2.7 miles. My over-indulgence last night made me a little nervous. It's not fun running on a stomch that was full of wine, sweets and food just a few short hours before. I had a small breakfast before my run as well since I'm trying to get in the habit of eating before my workout. Therefore, I actually felt "full" this morning..."Full" as in slow. Of course, Mother Nature also has a way of making women feel bloated and heavy during certain weeks of the month. This just happens to be that week for me. (sorry guys) Needless to say, I wasn't feeling like a runner this morning.

At first I only wanted to do the minumum amount of repeats, but as the morning went on, I convinced myself to finish all eight repeats. It's a good thing because I finished strong. After the workout, I felt like a runner. Amy and I are, once again, doing the 20 miler this Friday morning since I'm going to Colorado on Friday afternoon! I can't wait to not be stuck in a schedule over the weekend. I'm just feeling trapped by my own regime lately and it will feel good not to have one. My only decisions will be which book or trashy magazine I want to read.

My 800 times were as follows:

We did our 1.4 mile cooldown run back to Runtex and called it a morning. I'm feeling very prepared for Boston at this point, but this Friday's 20 miler will be the best gauge for me. It involves a lot of hills towards the end of the run. Let's hope I'm mentally and physically ready for the challenge. I'll just keep telling myself that I'm getting on a plane later that day!

5:15am 1/2 banana, 1 teaspoon PB, whole wheat tortilla
9:15 1 cup of Kashi Mighty Bites, blueberries, organic yogurt
12:30pm 2 grilled fish tacos, 2 corn tortillas, side salad with Salsa dressing
4:30pm 1/2 whole wheat bagel, banana, 1 teaspoon PB, bottle of water
7:15pm veggie, tofu stirfry with brown rice, diet coke