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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Taking the Long Way

When I moved to Texas from Ohio in 1998 without knowing anyone, my theme song was the Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces." I listened to that song practically nonstop for 1800 miles and 20 hours of driving through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and FINALLY Texas!

"It takes the shape of a place out west...and what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed. She needs Wide Open Spaces. Room to make her big mistakes. She needs new faces. She knows the higher stakes, knows the higher stakes."

It came to me at a time when I needed the courage to know that I was doing the right thing.

Well, the Chicks have done it again. I now have a new theme song thanks to their new album.

"The Long Way Around" speaks to how I've chosen to live my life. I've never really done things the traditional way (not that there's anything wrong with that!). For whatever reason, it's just not the path that was put in front of me. It sometimes seems as though everyone else has accomplished so much more in the way of marriage, children, careers, etc. I'm ok with that because I've achieved darn near every goal I've set out to accomplish. It just doesn't always happen in that traditional way. I get there by taking "The Long Way Around."

"The Long Way Around" by Dixie Chicks

My friends from high school
Married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses in the same ZIP codes
Where their parents live
But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow

I hit the highway
in a pink RV with stars on the ceiling
Lived like a gypsy
Six strong hands on the steering wheel
I've been a long time gone now
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
But I've always found my way somehow
By taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
I met the queen of whatever
Drank with the Irish and smoked with the hippies
Moved with the shakers
Wouldn't kiss all the asses that they told me to
No I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow
It's been two long years now
Since the top of the world came crashing down
And I'm getting' it back on the road now
But I'm taking the long way
Taking the long way around
I'm taking the long way
Taking the long way around
The long The long way around
Well, I fought with a stranger and I met myself
I opened my mouth and I heard myself
It can get pretty lonely when you show yourself
Guess I could have made it easier on myself
But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow
Well, I never seem to do it like anybody else
Maybe someday, someday I'm gonna settle down
If you ever want to find me I can still be found
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Taking the long way
Taking the long way around
Tuesday 5/30 one hour of core, upper body and abs
Wednesday 5/31 25 minutes on the elyptical and 45 min of upper body, legs and abs

Monday, May 29, 2006

Oh My God!!

Capital of Texas Triathlon
Olympic Distance

1500m Swim/24 mile Bike/6.2 mile Run

Pre-Race Jitters

I woke up at 5am having rested pretty well the night before. I did have the “shredded tire” nightmare where I go to get on my bike for the ride portion and my tire is completely shredded and, therefore, rendered useless. I woke up feeling a little uneasy about the potential karma of that dream, but I just tried to put it out of my mind and remember that my new bike has been very good to me thus far. The good thing about training so early in the morning is that the race day wake-up call didn’t seem that bad. Shawn and I had coffee and our usual bread with peanut butter before heading down to the race site. Fortunately, the race site is right across the street from where I work so we were able to park in my work’s garage.

It was still dark outside when we walked up to the body marking tent. I was happy it was still dark so that the young strapping lad who was writing my race number on my arms and thighs couldn’t see my cellulite. It was bad enough that I was in spandex this early in the morning! As the sun was rising over Town Lake, thousands of athletes converged on the shores to our bikes that had been placed the day before. Setting up your transition area is a tedious ritual unto itself. We have such a small amount of room to place a towel underneath our bike and place our biking equipment and running gear without forgetting something. I mentally went through the transitions, filled my (thankfully) non-shredded tires, grabbed my wetsuit and swim gear and headed over to where Shawn was setting up to wish him “good luck.”

I saw several friends out there this morning including Scott, Corey, Jill, Nosh and others, which again reminded me of why I love the Austin athletic community so much. We’re all so supportive of each other. Discussing our respective nerves helped put me at ease (a little).

It was a cloudy morning, but incredibly humid. It was hard to say what the day had in store from a weather standpoint. It felt like it could rain at any moment, but the clouds continued to hold onto the moisture, making it even more humid as the morning proceeded.

The Big Race—The Swim

The race started at 7am and Shawn’s wave started at 7:10am. Unfortunately, my age group wave didn’t get underway until 7:40am so I had almost too much time to sit, stew and dwell on the race ahead. I continued to get more and more anxious as the time drew near. I watched Shawn’s wave start and tried to pick him out of a group of 100 or so neon green swim caps. Before I knew it, my neon pink cap wave was being corralled to the dock. Like cattle, they herded us into one large group, but unlike cattle, they forced us to jump in the lake and tread water for 2 to 3 minutes before we even started swimming. It’s 2 to 3 minutes of finding a position in the back of the pack and saying a few silent prayers. Also, in my case, it was 2 to 3 minutes to pee in the lake before we began. There, I said it. I purposely decided not to wear a watch on the swim portion. I just really wanted to find a comfort zone and work on the skills I’ve gained the last month with T3. I had my Garmin mounted on my bike so I could keep track of my ride and run, but the swim was going to be a mystery to me until the official results were posted.
The airhorn sounded and we began the swim. Town Lake has a reputation for being..well..let’s just say “not clean.” The fact that they have to literally flush it out the night before the race pretty much sums it up. I was paranoid at first, but after about the 3rd or 4th swallow of lake water, I was over the trepidation. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to find a comfortable swimming zone. There wasn’t as much thrashing and kicking as I suspected. That’s one advantage to starting near the back. You don’t get pummeled nearly as bad. So, I established a comfort level on the swim and just tried to keep as steady a rhythm as possible. As we turned a buoy, I quickly glanced behind me and was pleasantly surprised to see several pink caps still back there in the water. Have a passed some people? Wow…As the swim proceeded, I just tried to keep my heart rate at a medium high level. Adrenaline was doing the rest. I actually started passing some people from the wave ahead of me. AND, no one from the wave behind me had passed yet. Usually, about 10 minutes into the swim, I’m being buried by the fast swimmers from the wave behind me. For what feels like forever, it's just you, the water bubbles and your breath. It's amazingly quiet under the water. Every now and then, I would look up to the bridge and vaguely hear people cheering from the bridge above. I just kept my head down and ploughed ahead. I was admittedly relieved to see the final buoy and then the “swim finish” ramp. Several fabulous volunteers were on the dock pulling people out of the water. It was over and I felt good about it. I had no earthly clue what my time was, but at that point I didn’t care. I was out of the water in one piece and had not grown a third ear from the toxic lake chemicals.

I can’t tell you how great it felt to run up the swim ramp and be greeted by Gilbert my running coach and Maurice my swimming coach. They were there cheering on their athletes and they both yelled my name as I buzzed by. I was beaming with relief and hoped to make my coaches proud of me. Almost immediately my good friend and first running coach Monica spotted me and handed me a cup of water. She was there as a volunteer and it was great to see familiar faces so early in the race.

The Big Race—T1 and The Bike
T1 went fairly smooth for all intensive purposes. I was pleasantly surprised to still see several other bikes still on the rack. The meant that I wasn’t one of the last people out of the water! It was a good clue that my swim wasn’t all that bad. Seriously, when I enter the 1st transition, I’m usually one of the last bikes. My wetsuit came off with relative ease except for the left leg that was stuck in my timing chip for a brief moment. After that was dislodged and the wetsuit was off, I continued the T1 ritual. Helmet on. Socks and bike shoes on. Power Gel and CO2 filler in my pocket. Sunglasses on. Grab the bike and go. The “bike out” gate was pretty far away, or so it seemed. Once I got on the bike, it was time to roll. The 24 mile bike consisted of four 6 mile loops around the streets of downtown Austin. It’s a fun course that’s relatively flat with several hairpin turns. It took a while to settle down from the swim and gain some momentum, but fortunately, I was able to do so about 1/2 way into the first loop. It started misting a little which made the roads a little slick. My goal was to average 20 mph on the bike. Not knowing if that was really feasible, I just gave it all I had. Drafting is illegal in the sport of triathlon, but this course is tight and crowded, making it almost impossible NOT to draft behind riders at times. It seemed like when I would try to pass someone, there would be another rider coming on my left. If nothing else, it was a lesson in bike courtesy. Luckily, most riders were courteous and gave visual and audible signals as they passed. The two short hills that are on the course have a way of sucking the wind and momentum out of you momentarily. Of course, you hit these two hills a total of four times on the course. Otherwise, it was fun ducking into the aero position and picking up speed on the straight-a-ways. I saw my running buddies, Thon and Richard, who had promised to come out and cheer on the athletes. I also spotted Jay from the Gazelles and shouted out his name as I rode by! It was so good and uplifting to see familiar faces. Last year, I did this course in 1 hr 17 minutes. I can’t tell you how shocking it was to look at my Garmin and see 1 hr 12 minutes as I pulled back into the Transition area.

So, I had what felt like a decent swim for me, a smooth T1 and a great bike. All I had left was T2 and the 10k ahead of me. Barring a major bonk, it was going to be a good day.

The Big Race—T2 and The Run
Transition 2 isn’t nearly as complicated as T1. Helmet off. Bike shoes off. Running Shoes on. Race Belt with number on. Baseball cap on. Grab Power Gel and GO!

It’s hard to describe the sensation of running after biking at full speed for over an hour. My legs always feel like bricks for the first mile or so. I feel like I’m running so slow, but am always shocked at how fast the splits tend to be. Even though my turnover felt awkward, other people were making different comments. Tracy and the gang at Jack and Adam’s Water Stop commented that my form looked good and I was running fast. Of course, they say that to everybody, but every ounce of encouragement helps. My first mile split was a 7:10. Holy cow…slow down a tad. There’s no way I could keep that up for 5 more miles, although it still felt like I was running at a snail's pace. That’s what happens when your heart rate is already sky high and the legs are warmed up. Somewhere around Mile2, my Garmin glitched and the mileage went goofy. I looked down at one point and it said that I had run 1.8 miles. I looked down a few minutes later and it said 1.34 miles. I know I wasn’t running backwards so I’m not exactly sure what happened. In any event, I sill had the overall time to view. Once again, it was great hearing my name being called from people I could see and others I couldn’t. Amy from T3…Shelley and Kurt Egli are tapering for Ironman Couer D’Alene and were out there cheering people on to a great race. I also saw several Gazelle friends including Kelly and Kim. I was wearing my T3 jersey and it was so cool to see others out there on the course wearing the same uniform. We would shout words of encouragement to each other or simply nod in recognition of being on the same team. This is the first year I trained with and wore a team jersey and I loved it. Even though I don’t know many of the people, it still boosted my confidence to be part of such a wonderful group. As I rounded mile 3 and headed south on Congress, a spectator who was on a bike rode up beside me and joked, “Are you sure you didn’t skip a bike loop because you’re running fast girl.” He spooked me for a second. Did I skip a loop? Is he a referee? Nope…just keep running and take the compliment. The sun had come out and the humidity was pretty awful at this point. I was taking water and basically dumping it on myself to stay cool. I felt good and strong as I started the 2nd loop. Since my splits were kinda screwed up, I just gave it all I had. By mile 4.5, I was wishing I had another power gel, but knew I was home free even though I was beginning to get tired. I dug deep and continued to pass as many people as I could, especially when I saw women in my age group! :-) It’s a little selfish, but I suppose that’s why they put your age on the back of your calf. It keeps me distracted during the race if nothing else! I rounded that final corner onto Riverside drive and kicked it up a notch. Two men caught me and passed me going into the Finish chute. I didn't care because they weren't females aged 30-34. I could see the finish and it felt good. I finished strong with gas in the tank. Granted, I was running on fumes, but I still had energy. I crossed the finish line and hit my Garmin. I did the 10K in 44:17 for an average pace of 7:08 per mile. I found out later that that split was good enough for 5th in my age group. I owe it all to the Gazelle training this past year.

The End
Shawn was waiting for me at the finish line. Although I had seen him a couple of times out on the course, it was hard to tell where he was at since he started about 30 minutes ahead of me. I got my finish line kiss and we proceeded to the nearest shaded tent and downed a popsicle and two bottles of water like it was nothing! Neither one of us knew what our overall times were, but were anxious to find out. We grazed the food a little bit, but neither of us were really that hungry immediately after the race. For the most part, we were both still trying to catch our breath and get our heart rates back to normal. They had a TON of Papa John’s pizza, but we could only share a piece. How sad. How often do you get free pizza and actually snub it? I attempted to drink a new fruit smoothie by Starburst (yes, the same chewy candy). I took one sip and it almost sent me into a sugar coma. No go…Water is about all I wanted and could handle. We walked around and stretched for a bit, took a couple of photos and then glanced at the results that were finally posted. There, in black and white, was the unconceivable to me. I had come in at 2:36:07. It was 11 minutes faster than last year and good enough for 10th overall female aged 30-34. For a sport that I’ve always considered myself just plain ol’ mediocre at best, I was staring at a Top 10 finish in my age group in a highly competitive race in a highly competitive age group.

Shawn came in at 2:59, after struggling a bit on the run. He likes to remind me that he did beat me on the swim (who doesn't?!). I tried to catch him at the end and got to within two minutes until I ran out of course! We're such a power couple. ha ha

It wasn’t until later this evening that they posted my individual splits. Since then, I actually moved up to 9th in my age group. My swim time is still average, but so much improved from year to year. Put it this way. Last year, the swim course was short and I swam it in 35 minutes. This year, the distance was correct (if not long) and I swam it two minutes faster and that is only with 2 complete months of T3 training in February and May. I took March and April off because of Boston. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic over the fast results, even though it’s still not a blazing pace comparatively. I’ll still take it and smile.

After an hour or so, we were finally able to get our bikes out of transition. We met friends Cathy, Susan, Steve, Jill and Genny for some much-deserved breakfast tacos and diet coke. I almost got a mimosa, but my tummy wasn't ready just yet!

I only took a couple of pre-race photos which I'll post soon. I'm also anxious to see the official photos which will take a few days I'm sure. Until then, I'm going to bed early and enjoying my day off tomorrow. Actually, I'll probably get up and do some core and stretching before work to stay loose. It's hard to imagine, but the Eagleman Half-Ironman is a mere two weeks away!


Age Group Place #9
Overall Place #294
Swim: 33:20
T1: 3:51
Bike: 1:12:17 (20.6 mph)
T2: 2:20
Run: 44:14 (7:08 pace)

Final Time: 2:36:07

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cap Tex Tri Expo

Cervelos, Lightspeed, Specialized, Trek, Kestrel--and everything else in between! The bikes are the most intimidating things about triathlon. You can just look at some of them and know these athletes invested thousands upon thousands of dollars on these machines. What I have to remember is that it doesn't matter how much money you've spent on the bike. You still have to finish the race with a run and only your heart rate and legs to get you through. It still doesn't stop me from being really intimidated though...

Going to the expo reminded me of why I love this community so much. One of the employees of Runtex had seen me speak at the City of Austin a few weeks back and made such wonderful comments about my talk. I'm glad it had an impact on people and I left Runtex feeling a little more confident and energetic. The expo was fun as usual getting to say "hi" to my T3 coaches Chrissie and Maurice, Stacy and the gang at Jack and Adams Bike Shop, David and Irma from Raceworks, Raul and Megan from Run-Far, Jeff from Runtex and the several athletes (Jill, Juan, Kurt, Shelley, Allan, etc) that have become friends over the last few years since I ventured into this community of running and triathlon. Shawn, Allan and I walked our bikes over to the transition area, found our appropriate spots, viewed the swim and run areas and said good-bye to our machines.

There is definitely a feeling of excitement for the fast-paced nature of this course, fear of the unknown, intimidation of those who are faster and stronger, relief since I really have nothing to prove, determination because I want to prove something anyway...

With just a few hours to go, Shawn and I are preparing for a nice pasta dinner and a relaxing evening. Tomorrow is going to be a great day! The bags are packed, the race numbers are in the appropriate areas, the power gels are loaded, the timing chip is in the bag. I went through the lengthy checklist of a triathlon from goggles and socks to sunglasses and body glide...wetsuits to ball cap, racing belt and running shoes. So easy to forget something. So different than running where all you need is shoes (and even those are optional for some). This is TRI-ATHLON. This is the sport where I get to tell people that I can do three sports all in the same day and live to tell about it...I hope.
Officially in race mode after a couple of days of food, frolicking and fun. I'm not even going to journal what I've been eating, but suffice to say, if tortilla chips count for carb loading, I should have a kick-ass triathlon Monday morning! Saturday morning began with a slow 10 mile run on Town Lake with Thon, Richard and Mike. They are officially my running lovers. I probably didn't need to do 10 miles, but really wanted to spend the time out there on the trail. In a desperate attempt to keep the route as flat as possible, we did a disjointed 10 mile loop that included some of Lake Austin Blvd, Enfield and Exposition (so much for no hills). I’ll blame it on the humidity, but it was a pretty rough run and we averaged a 9:06 mile. Thon would blame it on the margaritas and lack of sleep he had the night before. As per usual, the gang headed out for Saturday breakfast tacos at Mi Madres and we were joined by Hava, Shawn and Stephanie for yummy breakfast tacos. We spent most of Saturday taking house tours with friends who are also building houses. Later, Shawn and I went to the Bobaritaville Music Festival and sampled margaritas for an hour or so. I did good and really only had the equivalent of ¾ of a glass. That was a good time and I wish we could’ve stayed longer, but we were meeting the same breakfast gang for a tour of Mike’s house and then dinner at Cantina Laredo…More tex mex ensued!! I did have ½ glass of wine at dinner and had to leave the gang to pick a friend up at the airport who was just arriving back home from his honeymoon in Carmel. In unusual fashion for me, I actually met the gang back out around 10pm as they had proceeded to another bar. Realizing that it was time to be good, I abstained from drinking.

This morning started with more fun and a Wedding Shower for my good friend Genny at Stubb’s BBQ’s Gospel Brunch. Any guilt about not going to church was quickly erased when the band started playing and people started singing along. “Be Good to others and they’ll be good to you,” the band sang with gusto and soul. Both Monica and Katy from our party headed to the stage and sang on micwith the band! They might be as white as can be, but they had rhythm and soul today!! It was great to see Genny as she prepares for her July wedding in upstate NY. I truly miss her since she moved away last year to Portland.

After brunch (where I hydrated on water, coffee and diet coke), it was time to head to the Triathlon Expo….where the story continues and the real hydration begins…

Friday, May 26, 2006

Paying for a Round Trip

So, I took a flight last night. In fact, I took a round trip flight last night. A new wine bar in Austin called Cru recently opened up and I had an early Happy Hour with my two bosses (I love working with friends!). We went there after work to discuss "business." At Cru, they offer various wine flights, which consist of three 2oz samples of various wines. Each flight is the equivalent of one glass. So, I took a flight of Riesling wines. Because it was hot, sunny and we were sitting outside, I wanted something cool and refreshing. Rieslings offer the sweet tasty desert-style feeling. So much so, that I finished those samples and took another Riesling flight. By this time, Shawn had joined us and we were having a blast on a gorgeous holiday weekend afternoon. My boss' husband decided to show as well, so our little "business meeting" quickly turned into a soiree of sorts. Since we were all downtown, we decided to have dinner together at the new Italian restaurant that was open next door called Taverna. Well, I still had to atone for the sins from earlier in the day. Shawn had picked up two new yellow paint samples and he wanted to go put them on the wall so that we could make a freaking decision once and for all!! Of course, I couldn't say "no" since I had botched it so bad earlier in the day (see previous post). Luckily, the house is nearby so we took off and took care of that project and then headed back downtown for dinner. I ended up ordering a cosmo with dinner, but pretty much nursed it the entire time. Remember when I didn't drink an ounce of alcohol for 6 weeks before the Boston Marathon??? Well, I'm making up for that now apparently even though I have two tris coming up in the next three weeks!! Shawn and I split a caesar salad and our entree which consisted of pasta, shrimp, spinach and sundried tomatoes in a white wine sauce. Being the athletes that we are, we were both looking at the skimpy 1/2 portions we shared and said, "Now, what's for dinner??" I ended up stealing a piece of pizza from Pat to tide me over. All in all, it was a fabulous night and I was still home and in bed by 10:30pm.

I woke up this morning about 6:30am feeling a tad groggy, but I managed to make it to Barton Springs for a 2000yard swim nonetheless (5 laps). I was definitely paying a price for my flights from the night before. Oddly enough, my lap splits were the best I've had in a while, except for #5 which was a swim down to focus back on form. I was pleased with a 9:36, 9:31, 9:47, 9:36 and 10:01. My form and breathing felt good. I was treating this long swim like I do a long run...Nothing fast, just putting in the time.

I'm feeling good about Monday's Olympic Distance Tri. I had lunch with my friend and a fabulous Multi-sport coach Allan and he put some lingering fears to rest. Basically, with the hours and training I've been putting in, I could be doing a full IM right now. I told him I was putting in between 10-15 hours per week. It was between 16-20 hours when I was training for Boston. Allan, being a minimalist, informed me that the most hours he put in when training for IM Lake Placid last year was 10 hours! He also gave me a goal--to try to chase his ass down on the run since his wave starts 1/2 hour ahead of me.

Let's just hope I don't take anymore round-trip wine flights between now and then! This plane is grounded for a couple of days----oh yeah, except for the fact the I have tickets to the Bobaritaville festival tomorrow, which includes free margaritas.


Workout: 5 laps at Barton Springs Pool

6:45am w.w. tortilla with PBJ, bite of clif bar
8:45am bite of clif bar, bowl of kashi with blueberry yogurt
12:30pm lunch with Allan at Zen...chicken teriyaki with veggies and brown rice, 1 spring roll
2:00pm a caramel because I needed something sweet.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

(I Hope I Don't) Live in a Yellow Submarine

Is it possible to get a divorce before you ever get married? Hell, is it possible to get a divorce before you ever get engaged?? If so, I’m a prime candidate for being dumped and left out in the cold!! So yesterday, Shawn called and asked me to meet him at the “h.i.p.” (house in progress) to look at some paint colors that they had slapped up on the wall. By the way, yellow is the hardest color in the world to pick!! WELL, I looked at the clock and realized that between traffic, needing to go home and grab my suit and getting to swim class by 7:15pm, there was NO WAY I could meet him in time. “I promise I’ll look at it after my run in the morning. I swear I’ll go by there and give you my opinion.” Well, of course, after my run this morning I decided NOT to go by the house because I was running short on time. Instead, I decided I would drag my bosses over there at lunch and get their opinions on the colors.

So, after a fabulous sushi lunch with some radio friends (thanks Jammin 105.9!), we headed over to the house to pick the best possible color of yellow there was. Well, wouldn’t you know it?? They had painted over every ounce of yellow!!! EVERY ONE OF THE SAMPLES WAS GONE!! Apparently, they’re getting ready to texture the walls and don’t care whether we’ve selected Butterscotch, Sunburst or Clothespin yellow.

So, I had to call my sweet and ever so patient boy and tell him that I had failed in my “Not Wife Duties.” What a humorous twist of gender roles! While he’s comparing the merits of yellow hues, I’m off swimming and running. Of course, he’s doing all of that too!! He’s just able to keep it together a little better than me….

So, if I come home from training to a house full of “Live Strong Yellow” or “Citrus Ice Passion,” I have no one to blame but myself.

5 mile slow run this morning with Kim, Kelly, Thon and Richard

5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ
8:30am Kashi with blueberry yogurt, coffee
12noon Sushi--assorted stuff!! you know, the usual.
4pm Couple of caramels because I needed something sweet.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Back at the Track

I didn't feel as bad as I thought I would after consuming 3 Stoli Vanilla Cosmopolitans last night and 1/2 piece of cheesecake! Damn, they tasted good. Maybe there's something to this vodka thing. It wasn't as punishing as 3 glasses of wine would've been. Of course, it helps that I was also hydrating like crazy yesterday as well.

So, I was up and at Runtex by 6am. I'm officially back with Gilbert after an extended break from speed training. I hadn't planned on doing any major speed workouts this week, but I had committed to meeting Amy there. Plus, I could always "run at my own pace" (which is Gilbert's way of saying run as fast as you can). He actually said that if we were doing the triathlon this weekend, we should only do 10 x 400s instead of the prescribed 12. Yay...I can do this!

It felt weird lining up with a group of runners again. Seriously, from February to April, it was pretty much just me and Scud (Amy's nickname because of her unpronouncable last name) pacing every run together. While everyone else was tapering or recovering from the Austin Marathon, we were ramping up mileage and workouts virtually by ourselves. I was happy to be back, but nervous about lining up with Frank, Marcie, Shannon and Brian. I haven't run much with Shannon and Brian, but I know that Frank and Marcie can haul ass. They are definitely faster than me on speed workouts. Coach G told us to run each 400 (one time around the track) between 1:30 and 1:35--I think. I was still slightly confused as to which group I should fall in. I was ready to line up with Jay's group when Shannon made my day. "I've read your blog. You need to be in this group." Damn--I was busted.

The repeats were just slightly uncomfortable. It's easy for me to say that now since I'm finished and only had to do 10. I'd say they were somewhere between an 85-90% effort depending on the lap. It was ok for one lap, but it would've been very difficult to hold that pace for 800s. We could speak while we were running, but we were all breathing hard. We even found the energy to joke about an unfortunate frog that lay partly squished on the track. He was no doubt a victim of some athlete's running shoe. Sweet.

Here were our splits. We took a 1 min recovery in between each:

With the 1.62 mile warmup and cool down (3.2 miles), I had a decent workout and my legs felt great!! woo hoo...

I have swim class tonight and then Shawn and I are heading d-town for some live music. We've vowed to get out more and enjoy the town!

5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ
9:20am cup of kashi with Blueberry yogurt
1:15pm 1/2 piece of cornbread, Large Mixed Greens salad with smoked salmon and shrimp cakes (outrageously good) and side order of mashed sweet potatoes, diet coke
4pm 1/2 cookie
5:00 pm chicken caesar wrap before 7:15pm Swim Class

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Felt great after swim class last night! It was a good solid workout...Form getting better, breathing getting easier, I'm getting more distance per stroke. I was averaging 2:10-2:13 per 100. Not blazing by any stretch, but lightening fast for me. If I kept it up for 800m, I'd finish a 1/2 mile in approximately 18 minutes. Not bad considering most of my 1/2 mile swims during races have been in the 20 minute range. Positive feedback from the coaches also seems to be helping. Whether or not I'm actually improving doesn't really matter, but when the coach says, "Looking good," I can't help but believe it.

Got up and went to 5:45am spin class this morning for a combination of speed work and hill climbs. Kept my HR right around the 82% mark for most of the workout. Peaked at 90% on some of the sprints and recovered in the low 60% range in between intervals. That's one thing I've noticed. I recover fast in between intervals. The instructor will say recover to 80% and I'll already be at 70%. That's a good sign that my ticker can recover quickly. Let's just hope it doesn't plummet too quickly someday!! Then I know I'm in T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Went home and did upper body and abs.
No intense running or cycling this week planned. Just a few light days of each...gotta make those legs feel good for Monday!

FYI--Embrace your freedom of speech today and go buy the new Dixie Chicks album. Best stuff I've heard in a long time. www.itunes.com

5:15am w.w. tortilla with PBJ, coffee, 2 bottles of water at gym
9:30 am cup of kashi with blueberry yogurt, coffee, small piece of chocolate (Mother Nature has unleashed her fury on my female parts this week! A girl needs her chocolate)
12:15pm Reps from a radio station brought lunch. I had a chicken caesar wrap on whole wheat tortilla, fruit cup, 1/2 cookie and 3 baked lays.
4pm Body for Like Shake and couple of small pieces of chicken
7:30pm Dinner at Zax--a small piece of bread, steak salad with blue cheese and vinagerette....oh yeah--3 cosmopolitans with stoli vanilla vodka and 1/2 piece of cheesecake--oops!! (it tasted so good)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Keep Tri-ing

It's Race Week! The Capital of Texas Triathlon is a week from today and I'm actually starting to get nervous. I did what I shouldn't have done. I looked at my results from last year and started strategizing how to beat myself! How bad is that?!? It's not really a fair measurement since the course will be slightly different and who knows how weather conditions will be. Heat and/or rain can change EVERYTHING. This is the part where the mortal person comes out and says, "Will you just quit obsessing and enjoy it? You're not going to win, ok? Get over it."

I should be tapering this week, but have decided to train through it and make this my last hard week before the June 11th Half-Ironman, which is technically my "A" race. So, after Saturday's 14 mile run, Sunday's 54 mile bike/3 mile run, I got my butt out of bed this morning and met Amy for a 7 mile run around Town Lake averaging 8:26 per mile. I hate to admit it, but my knees were sore (duh). Mostly a dull pain. I'll lay low on running this week and focus on swimming. That's a good thing because I have Swim Class tonight. As usual, I can think of a MILLION things I'd rather be doing, but I've gotta go! I even turned down sushi karaoke for this class tonight. I better have a good workout or next week it's "I Will Survive" with a spicy tuna roll and plenty o' sake.

5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ, banana
9:15am 1 cup kashi with yogurt
12:30pm chicken stiry fry and brown rice, body for life bar, 3 bottles of water
4pm apple with peanut butter and cup of coffee
6:30pm 1/2 body for life bar
9:15pm Fantastic Foods Vegetable Miso Ramen Noodle Bowl

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back from a birthday weekend getaway to Brenham, Texas ...Well, it wasn't really a weekend getaway as much as it was a 24 hour whirlwind of ice cream eating, wine tasting, eating and a 54 mile bike ride thrown in for good measure. I ran 13.5 miles on Saturday morning with Amy, Ann, Thon and Mike. We haven't climbed Mt. Bonnell in a while and it actually felt good to attack it again. Felt strong until the last two miles. We still finished with a nice 8:36 pace overall. No complaints there.

Shawn and I left Austin around Noon and headed out. We stayed at a peaceful B&B with gorgeous views of the sunrise this morning. I only wish time was on our side a little more to enjoy it and relax more. Unfortunately, we were following a different timeline. The bike ride was great. So good to be out of Austin and on some good quality roads without too much traffic. We finished in 3hrs 29min. Of course, after we loaded the bikes in the car we went for a run. I ran 3 miles in 24:18. (8:06 pace) Again, I was pleased with how my legs felt. It was hot as hell and I definitely need to drink more fluids on my respective race days.

I was pretty much spent after that. We had to zoom back to Austin to attend an open house. Again, not my timeline. We just didn't have much time to spare. I drove about 2/3 of the way home and started zoning out. Shawn took over and we made it to the open house with plenty of time to spare. A nice nap awaited this afternoon before heading to church. My birthday week is officially over. Damn, I'm no longer the center of the universe :-)

I learned something this weekend that's hard to take for a girl who likes to be in control. Things don't always necessarily work on my timeline or in the order I want them to work. Just when you think things are going one direction, you're reminded that that's not always the case. Sometimes I can roll with the punches and other times when I feel backed against the ropes, I swing back in a flurry of panic. My constant challenge is knowing if and when I should give up the fight.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cinderella Can Bite Me

Cinderella is a bitch. Not only did she land Prince Charming, but she also can stay up until Midnight before turning into a pumpkin! I hate her. It seems the magic time for me these days is about 10:00pm. If I’m not in bed snoozing by then, I’m pretty much screwed the next morning. I’ll groggily hit snooze and attempt to justify sleeping in just a little longer. The last couple of days have been like that. I’ve been getting to bed later than usual (a whopping 10:30pm) and attempting to get up at 5am and train like I mean it. The problem is that when I’m tired and grumpy, I DON’T mean it. My workouts feel useless when I’m exhausted. I like to feel my workouts and not just drudge through them because the training schedule says so. Yesterday morning, I had visions of getting up and riding for an hour and then running for about 30 minutes. The alarm went off, the cat woke up and start nudging me. I turned over and went back to sleep. I eventually got up around 6:45am and decided to do my arms and core workout from home. I did eventually get my bike ride in last night. Shawn and I met at the new house and rode around the neighboring streets and explored some of the roads and routes that will soon become second nature to us. It wasn’t a hard ride by any stretch, but there were a couple of climbs (including Stratford Hill where you’re literally not sure you can turn the pedal over fast enough or unclip before falling over). Luckily, we both made it up the hill with bodies in tact.

This morning felt like old times! I actually got a full night’s worth of rest and was at Barton Springs Pool by 6:30am. My goal was to swim 4 laps for a total of 1 mile. Although I wasn’t swimming fast (I never do), I was swimming better than usual in my wetsuit. My breathing was steady and my arms weren’t tired or sore. I actually felt like I was swimming!! I finished my mile and decided to go for another ½ lap to make 1.2 miles. It was a total of about 45 minutes with a minute of rest included in that…:15 in between each lap. I got out, felt refreshed and was ready for part two…a 7 mile run around Town Lake, that turned into 7.5 miles.

It was another beautiful bright day in Austin. I was mentally happy with my swim and refreshed from the cool water. I had downloaded an hour’s worth of music from iTunes “PodRunner” podcast to my new Nano. Yay…Normally, I’m not really into the techno/house music thing, but at 161 beats per minute, it really does put you in a trance. I ran 7.5 miles at an 8:25 pace and wanted to go longer and faster. Unfortunately, I had to get to work sometime and I was already late! Now, granted, I actually ran the Boston marathon faster than that, but I’m still trying to find my legs again. Plus, I had biked last night and swam this morning. And, I have a 14 mile run in the morning. Suffice to say, the run felt great and I felt strong. Like I said earlier, I like to feel my workouts.

Cinderella may be able to stay up later than me, but I’d kick her ass in a race anyday, especially since she tromps around in one glass slipper!

Nutrition for Thursday 5/18:

6:15am ½ w.w. tortilla with PBJ, coffee
9:30am cup Kashi with Blueberry yogurt
12pm Salad with vinagerette, ½ tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread, 1 small piece of chocolate cake from my b-day.
4pm cup of Quinoa with feta, sundried tomatoes, spinach and chicken…a small apple
8:30pm Austin Java co. for turkey burger and side salad. I opted for a soda instead of a glass of wine. Coach Shawn guilted me out of it! 1 Riesen Chocolate caramel instead…

Nutrition for Friday 5/19

6:00 am ½ w.w. tortilla with PBJ, bite of BFL Bar
9:30am (after swim and run) cup of quinoa—see above and an apple, two bottles of water and coffee
12:30pm leftover soba miso bowl from Pei Wei--buckwheat noodles, veggies and tofu
one Body for Life cookies and cream bar.
4:30pm small piece of chocolate
7:00pm-8:00pm Alamo Draftouse to see "Thank You for Smoking" --large Spinach salad with vinagerette, diet coke, falafel, 1/2 pita and tabouli. stopped at Starbucks on the way home to get a decaf coffee with sugar free vanilla syrup.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

“Prepare yourself for a change of events in your personal life.”
--my birthday fortune cookie 5/17/06

Yep, I was tired this morning. Yep, I had a slight case of “cotton mouth” when I woke up. Mostly, I was still uncomfortable from my gluttonous eating at 9:30pm the night before. It’s not like greasy tex-mex is ever really that good for you, but when consumed an hour before going to bed, it REALLY doesn’t sit well.

I agreed to take my co-worker Matt and his fiancée Maria to the airport this morning at 6:30am. They were jetting off to Carmel to get married on Saturday. After I dropped them off, I decided to hit the trail for a 7 mile birthday run. It ended up being more like a jog as the remnants of a few “champassions” and enchiladas made their presence known loud and clear. I wasn’t totally hung over, but let’s just say my mind and body isn’t usually this groggy on a morning run.

It was one of those mornings where you feel like you did something bad the night before. I woke up with a certain sense of dull guilt. Did I dance on the tables? No. Did I fling my bra around? No. Did I kiss a random person? No. You know why I felt guilty? Because I let myself go for a few hours long enough to inflict some caloric pain on my body. Isn’t that crazy?? I tried to spend my entire 7-mile run telling myself how much I deserve it while, at the same time, trying to run off some of the queso. In between rounds of the devil vs. angel boxing match that was going on in my head, I took some time to look around and take in the scenery. May is the most perfect month is Austin. It was a cool sunny morning (cool being 60 degrees). The air had a crispness to it. I spent time looking at my shadow. “Happy Birthday girlfriend.” Yep, I spoke to my shadow. “Is that back fat I see on you??” (just kidding)

I didn’t go fast during the 7 miles, but it was peaceful starting my birthday with the person who knows me best—my shadow.

I got to my office and it was decorated with confetti and balloons. Lunch was ordered in for my b-day. Our bookkeeper made me a cake (chocolate all the way with no nutz). Shawn and I are catching a drink after work (uhh...maybe) and heading to see some live music tonight. We’re leaving town for a weekend getaway on Saturday morning. Not sure where we’re going. I was just told to bring my bike because we’re going to do a long bike ride. That’s our idea of a romantic getaway…a punishing bike ride. God, I found the perfect man. I have a feeling I also picked the perfect fortune cookie today.

It's a good day to be 33. I was joking last night at Happy Hour. I'm now officially the same age as Jesus--WHEN HE DIED!! Let's hope my 33rd year is a little better than his was. If something happens to me, I don't think I'll be rising to life again on the 3rd day :-)

Nothing like spreading a little birthday humor and cheer!

Town Lake 7 mile loop

6:15am coffee and bottle of water. Does Tylenol have calories?
9:30am after my run...bowl of kashi with yogurt and a banana
12:30pm bite of BFL Bar
2pm Pei Wei Soba-Miso with buckwheat noodles, tofu and veggies, small piece of chocolate b-day cake.

Working it Right

“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.”
Joe E. Lewis

Talk about a quote that hits you over the head. This was given to me in a birthday card last night by my friend’s Richard and Stephanie.

My friend Cathy arranged a Birthday Happy Hour for both me and my friend Susan. Both of us are celebrating another year full of milestones, mayhem, mishaps and merriment. It was yet another perfect night in Austin, Texas at the San Jose Hotel Courtyard. This quaint little patio was the perfect setting for good friends and even better alcohol. Old friends (Cathy, Jill and Wendy), ex-coworkers (Kim, Dave, Susan and Lesli), current co-workers (Matt and Abbey), some of my “running buddies” (Kim, Running Hubby Mike, Thon, Amy, Perry,

Richard and Stephanie) and the man of my dreams (Shawn) were all there to toast a drink—or ten—to another great year. Once again, I was reminded to live in gratitude for these blessings, health and friendships. Of course, I was also thankful for San Jose’s special concoction called a “Champassion”! This part champagne, part passion fruit juice and part raspberry drink make the night sparkle that much more! Plus, knowing that I was going to swill back a couple, I had actually gotten my ass up at 5:15am to head to the 5:45am Swim Class. I swam about 2700m from 5:45am to 7:15am so I was guilt-free (until dinner!).

You can definitely tell what tickles my fancy by the fabulous gifts I received. Thanks to all for your massage certificates, certificates to Runtex, Free Dinner, many Drinks, “Life is Good” shirt, Running Shorts, chocolate, flowers, massage oils and body lotions. I fancy myself a low-maintenance girl, but these gifts made me feel decadent.

At about 9pm, a few of us headed to East Austin where the real decadence began (or should I say self-destruction!) We slammed down some greasy Tex-Mex at Las Palmas Restaurant. Chips, salsa, queso, combo fajitas and a myriad of tortilla-like products filled with cheese…ahhhhh. I tried to be submissive, but was quickly reminded to “live it up!” It's my birthday for crying out loud!!! I really do struggle every day with granting myself permission to just let it go every now and again. Today was one of those days.

Thanks to everyone for being there to help me “work it right” and take full advantage of the one life I’m given. I'm glad I only have one life to live. But with friends and family like mine, I hope it doesn't end anytime soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Busy as a Bee!

Craziness erupted at the agency today! I'm not sure what happened over the weekend, but suddenly clients came in to work today and wanted websites active, print ads changed, radio and tv campaigns to start immediately, brochures printed and new copy written for various pieces. I'm usually very good at prioritizing and making my "to-do" lists. Things were happening so fast today that I never had time to really organize--until the phone stopped ringing! Needless to say, now that I'm a tad more organized, I can hit the ground running first thing tomorrow.

Speaking of hitting the ground running, I ran with the Gazelles this morning and did his circuit workout. Total of about 5 miles all togehter including warm-up run to and from the track. I parked at Barton Springs Pool this morning and when I was finished running, I put on my wetsuit (not an easy task when you're still sweating) and swam 3/4 of a mile in the open water. As always, Barton Springs was cold when I first got in, but I quickly warmed up. I'm not a big fan of wetsuit swimming. It's supposed to make me feel buoyant, but I imagine myself looking more like the Pillsbury Dough Boy attempting to swim. Pretty freakin' funny, eh?? Except that I don't laugh when I'm trying to breathe every 3 strokes! I got into a semi-decent rhythm and could've completed a full mile, but I ran out of time and had to get to work by 9:00am.

Cap Tex Tri is coming up on Memorial Day. I know I'm ready!


Gazelle Circuit Workout 5 miles total with core work
Swim Barton Springs 3/4 mile


5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ
9:15am kashi with blueberries and skim milk
12:30pm Fantastic Foods cous cous with lentils and 1/2 w.w. tortill with PBJ, couple of tortilla chips
4pm 1/2 cup dry kashi and one Reisen chocolate candy piece, 4 bottles of water
8:30pm spinach over left over chicken stir fry from Firebowl, 1/2 glass of wine, bite of body for life bar, couple of bites of quinoa to taste as I made it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Purpose in Every Piece

I didn't mean to take a "blogging hiatus," but it just worked out that way. It's funny that journaling has become such a part of my life that I don't feel complete when I haven't written anything for the day. When I was writing and performing more stand-up comedy, all of the pros told me to write at least 15 minutes a day. It didn't matter what. Just write. You never know what would pop out of your mind. For whatever reason, I never wanted to take that time to do something I couldn't immediately benefit from. Now, I love taking the few minutes everyday to sit down in reflection and just write. Now I see that everything I do, no matter how big or small, has a purpose. This blog has certainly kept me honest with myself and I've come to know some wonderful people and learn new lessons along the way. I read posts everyday that I wish I had written. It's a community of "I know exactly what you're going through right now. You mean I'm not the only one?" I look forward to reading about "my friends'" days and experiences. Little at a time, it all has a purpose.

That's how I've been feeling about my training lately. It all seems to be coming together piece by piece. I'm noticing subtle differences every day. Lately, I've been focusing on my weaker sports of cycling and swimming. I've cut down my running miles to continue my recovery and to ramp up swimming and biking. The T3 Swimming Class continues to kick my butt, but I love showing up and having a workout planned. I love being pushed to levels I've never thought possible. I love working with the pace clock. It's so much more invigorating than just swimming 20 laps with no real purpose. Piece by piece, we break it down. Coach's Maurice and Chrissy can look at me from up above the water and know that my wrist is too bent or my elbow is too low. It might seem insignificant, but every little bit helps. I hit Swim Class last Monday, Wednesday and today. In each workout, we swim a total of 2500-2800 meters. Some days are definitely better than others, but I'm feeling a difference overall. I'm not sure how it will translate into race day with a wetsuit and 200 other people kicking my face, but it has instilled more confidence than I would ever imagine.

I also had a great cycling week (for me). I went to spin class on Tuesday morning and rode on Thursday and also this morning after swim class. On Thursday, I went to the Veloway/South Mopac Loop and was destined to beat my 8 mile time trial time from before. My previous best was 25:31 (19.0mph). Well, after an 11 mile warm-up, I rode the 8 mile time trial in 24:31 (19.7 mph)!! I was so happy to see a 1 minute drop from the week before. Perhaps the wind was more in my favor or perhaps the longer warm-up helped. Who knows? All I know is that piece by piece, my training, patience and bike skills are improving...at least for this week.

I ran 12 miles yesterday morning with Amy, Ann and Mike (my running hubby). It was great to put some mileage on my feet, but not feel too much pressure to push it. For me, running right now is all about being consistent and comfortable. No PRs to reach, no times to beat. Just small pieces to keep in place.

Shawn and I had a hard 45 mile ride today after Swimming. The humidity made it horrible and neither of us had prepared enough hydration. 10 miles into the ride, sweat was pouring off my face and I'm not a heavy sweater as a rule. With about 6-7 miles ago, we actually stopped at a Starbucks so that we could buy more waters and a soda for a boost. Our legs felt ok, but we both had some slight dehydration to overcome. As it turns out, it was actually one of my better rides from a speed and time standpoint. We had plenty of hills to climb (our route with 360 S-SW Parkway-Rte 71--Bee Caves--South on 360 to Walsh Tarleton and then N360 back to Spicewood Springs), but we averageed 15.7 mph for the 44 mile ride. It took about 2:45.

In order to not be overwhelmed by the big picture, I try to break every day down in little chunks of manageable tasks. There's a certain sense of accomplishment the more you can check off your "to do" list. Some things may seem insignificant, but every thing I do is with a sense of purpose...especially the nap I'm about to take!

Happy Mother's Day Mom and Kay. I enjoyed talking and visiting with you both!


Thursday 5/11 20 mile bike ride
Friday 5/12 core and arms
Saturday 5/13 Run 12 miles (8:45 pace)
Sunday 5/14 Swim 2500 m and Bike 44 miles

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

Today is my Mom and Dad’s 43rd Anniversary! Yep, I’m one of those rare children today who actually come from a two-parent household. Now, admittedly, it wasn’t necessarily a Brady Bunch household. We’re more like “The Cosby Show” meets “The Simpsons.” Very close knit, very loving, but also very irreverent and obnoxious. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I don’t talk to my parents everyday. In fact, I’m amazed that most of my friends do talk to their Mom or Dad four, five, even six times daily!! My life is too mundane to bother them with every last detail. In fact, I can hear Rose answering the phone for the 10th time, “What the hell do you want now?? Good Lord daughter I love you, but get a life!!” My parents have become very email savvy…They send me jokes and chain letters and I send them updates on my races and work. I think they’ve even started reading my blog! (Love you, Mom and Dad)

At the end of the day, without a doubt, they are the first people I call when something goes terribly wrong or amazingly well. When I had my heart broken, I called my Mom. When I changed jobs, I made sure they saw the office that I was moving into and met my new bosses. When a previous job was stressing me out, I had my Dad talk some sense into me. When I bought my condo, they visited within weeks to help me paint. When I met Shawn, they came to Austin to meet him and his parents (and we’re still together!!) They’ve come to see multiple races of mine and stayed to the bitter end when I used to finish in last place. They were the first people I called when I finished Boston. Seriously, I was walking away from the finish line and I called them immediately. They already knew my results as they had been following me for over three hours on the computer.

I’ve learned so much from them. In fact, as they celebrate their 43rd year, here is a list of a few things I’ve learned from my Mom and Dad:

1.) I never EVER want a yard to mow. (they mow 6-7 yards a week for their neighbors and stress about it for 8 months a year)

2.) Working is good for the soul, but at a certain point you have to STOP, SLOW DOWN and SMELL THE ROSES.

3.) I will marry a man who can make his own cereal J Seriously Dad, just add milk. That’s it.

4.) Saving your money and keeping a budget is a good thing. They are the masters!

5.) As good as the Applebee’s Veggie Pizza may be, there are other places in Columbus, Ohio to eat.

6.) You never want to play a game called “Ouch.” It usually involves a belt and a misunderstanding with Mom.

7.) Having your parents come pick you up at the Columbus Police station at 2am when you’re 15 makes for a VERY LONG YEAR.

8.) The glass is always half-full. It might be half-full of shit, but it’s half-full.

9.) Your life won’t necessarily end if the Buckeyes lose their Saturday football game. It took my Dad many years to learn that one, but he finally did.

10.) It’s ok to call long distance these days. It doesn’t cost NEARLY as much as it used to.

11.) You can still survive if you have a heart attack, get hit by a train, by a car, fall out of a tree, have a thyroid tumor removed and get in a bike accident. Just ask my Dad. He’s the one with all of the scars.

12.) A full knee replacement and arthroscopic knee scope doesn’t have to slow you down. Just ask my Mom. She’s the one still walking around the neighborhood everyday.

13.) You can still be happily married after having five kids and nine grand kids. I don’t want any of it. I’m just saying that it’s possible.

14.) Italian Food is so much better when my Mom is the one making the ravioli dough.

There’s so much more!! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I love you!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Hero...and my Nemesis

I have a love/hate relationship with Kristin Armstrong. I’m talking about Lance’s ex-wife here. Let me stress from the get-go that I do not know her personally and everything I say comes from the deepest level of respect. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me say this. “I beat Kristin in the Boston Marathon!!! Woo Hoo!!! Yippeee!! I Rock!!” (gloating now over)

If she was reading this, I’m sure her first reaction would be, “What is your deal sister? And why do you know or care what my time is?” Oh yeah…all that and, “Who the hell are you??”

Ever since I moved to Austin, Texas in 1998, I’ve followed Kristin’s story, mostly by default of just living here in her town. Most of the world knows the basic story about Lance and Kristin Armstrong with his cancer, their dream marriage, his infertility, frozen sperm, the subsequent births of their miracle children, the Tour de France victories, bad rumors, the divorce…oh yeah…the divorce. That’s where the story ends for most of the world.

Oddly enough, that’s where my bizarre fascination with this woman actually began. Through the media and friends of hers, I’ve come to learn basic things about her that have an uncanny resemblance to my life. Before dating and marrying Lance, she worked in the PR/Advertising Industry in Austin as an up-and-coming Exec (I’ve been in Media and Advertising since College). She counts her Catholic Faith as one of the most important attributes in her life for survival during the hard times (Amen, sister). At her lowest moments, she found happiness and bliss in the form of running (For me, it was either running or more diet pills). She’s become a well-published writer having had several articles in “Runners World,” “Glamour” and others. (While I’ve never been published in cool magazines like that, I have written several radio and TV commercials that have been heard by thousands!) She’s run several marathons including the New York, Chicago and Boston Marathons. (We practically run in each other’s shadow often finishing less than 2 minutes apart.) We’re both not afraid to admit our own weaknesses and failures.

Her recent piece in “Glamour” http://www.glamour.com/features/sexandlove/articles/060501kristin magazine spoke volumes to me. It apparently also spoke volumes to Oprah, because Kristin was a guest on the show on Tuesday, May 9th. http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200605/20060509/

As you read the article and watch the show, you learn so much about her strengths, vulnerabilities and unglamorous realities of living in the spotlight. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must’ve been (and must still be) to bear the burden of being Lance Armstrong’s ex-wife. While he’s off doing his thing in front of millions, she has quietly, but solidly rebuilt a life of peace, happiness and personal success—all things she lost temporarily when she changed her last name.

I hope that I will always speak my mind with pride and dignity. I hope that I someday learn that it's ok to ask for help when I need it. Most of all, I hope that, even in the compromises of marriage, I never lose sight of myself.

To me, Kristin Armstrong IS me (minus the whole zillionaire ex-husband). I just wish she wasn’t in my racing age group!!

See you on the trails, girlfriend.

5:45am 6.5 Mile Run with Running Partner (and friend of Kristen) Amy...That's where the inspiration for today's blog came from.

Swim workout at 7:15pm--it was a KILLER!! We swam about 2600 meters, but it was a tough one for me. I had trouble keeping up and found myself in the back of the lane more than once. That's ok. I still finished the entire workout!

5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ
9:00am Kashi, blueberries, yogurt
12noon 1 1/2 chicken crepe, carrots, red potatoes, a few bies of chocolate cake
3pm apple
5:15pm dry kashi and 1/2 tuna wrap (trying to eat early before swimming)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Insulation for a Happy Life

After work, I met Shawn at the house that we're building. Up to this point, it's just been the framework and the roof. We walked in today and the insulation had been put in all around the house. Suddenly, it began to feel like a home--our home. It wasn't as drafty or breezy. It felt warm in the house (too warm in Austin!!). It felt comforting. It was beginning to feel like home.

I try to insulate my life with warmth and comfort as well. I associate with people who make me feel good and comfortable and I try to stay away from "the energy suckers" or those who are constantly down for no reason at all. I insulate my body with good food (ok-most of the time) and exercise to maximize performance and energy. I coat my life with warmth and security as much as possible. That doesn't mean that I don't take risks. It just means that I surround myself with love and support in any way I can. In an odd way, feeling "safe" allows me to take more risks. I know that if I stumble or fall, I'll still have the insulation of family, faith and friends to lift me up and continue to provide the safety and security I need to keep trying.

Insulation comes in many forms: family, friends, food, alcohol, activity, church, god, books, etc.
What I've also found is that you can't truly feel insulated until you feel secure within YOURSELF. I hope everyone finds their own insulation.

Workout Today: Spin/Elyptical Brick--I did the 5:45am spin class and then hopped on the elyptical for 4 miles. My legs were still a tad sore from the weekend so I didn't pound my joints on the treadmill.

Nutrition (or lack thereof)

5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ
9:00am 1 1/2 cups Kashi with berries and yogurt, water, water, water
11:30am handful of baked pita chips
1:30pm 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PBJ, garden salad with tuna, 1 ritz cracker, 1 piece of chocolate brownie
6pm 2 cosmopolitans with co-worker Matt
8pm 1/2 margarita, chips and lots of guac, 1 1/2 mole enchiladas, black beans and rice, piece of Cathy's carnitas and Shawn's chicken. (too much food!!)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Working on my Core

I'm going to swim class tonight. I'm going to swim class tonight...

Because I rode and ran both Saturday and Sunday, I stayed at home this morning and did my hour-long core workout of arms and abs. As I was working on my external core, I started thinking about my internal core. How much work does it need? I spend time in gratitude and thanksgiving, but is it enough? Yes, I give of myself to others, but I'm still selfish. I've been a little disappointed lately as I've let my "spiritual side" wane a little bit. Simply put, I used to go to church weekly and was an active participant as a Stephen Minister . I used to minister and counsel those who were going through trials and tribulations, be it death, divorce, lonliness, etc. I would sit with my Care Receiver every week and just listen. Most of the time, that's all they needed. Just someone who would listen to their concerns and troubles. Plus, I would attend meetings twice a month with other Stephen Ministers. We would reflect and pray for those who were less fortunate. We would also listen to lectures from various non-profit organizations in Austin who needed help. It truly was a time for me to slow down and give thanks for all of the happiness in my life. Well, almost shamefully so, I had to go on a hiatus from that group because I had so many other obligations. I was changing jobs, training for marathons and tris, rehearsing with my comedy troupe, trying to build a healthy relationship with Shawn, etc. I just wasn't giving enough real energy to that organization. It wasn't fair to the other members who attended every group while I was just showing up when I could. Now, a year later, I'm itching to rebuild that part of my life. Perhaps not in the exact same way, but something. I'm not less busy, that's for sure. In fact, if anything, I'm more busy. That's no excuse.

So, in addition to working on my physical body, I'm making a renewed commitment to train my spiritual body. It has definitely lost some of the muscle that it used to have and it's time to get it back.


6:30am w.w. toast with PBJ, cup of coffee
9:30am kashi, yogurt, blueberries, coffee and 2 bottles of water
12:30ish Chicken club with avacado. I removed the bacon and most of the cheese, side salad. This was a lunch with KEYE-42 TV. We got to meet one of the actors from CSI:NY. Can you tell I'm not a regular viewer?
3pm 1/2 of a Tall Caramel Lite Frapp...more water
6:15pm leftover Firebowl before swimming--probably a little too much
10pm a 1/2 cup of sugar free jello.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Missions Accomplished...Well, Most of Them

How much can you pack in one day? Today was a mission to find out. Naturally, it started with a few bumps and bruises. I pulled up to the pool for 7:15am practice and there were no cars to be found. What? I know it’s my first week back to class, but I KNOW practices were on Sundays at 7:15am. Where the heck was everyone? Maybe they cancelled because of all of the storms. Frustrated because my morning was already off track, I decided to drive to Barton Springs Pool to get my swim accomplished. I wanted to do this one way or another! This would at least allow me to put on my wetsuit and practice my open water swimming. I pulled up to Barton Springs and saw a few other cars and human beings milling about looking fit and athletic. I mentioned before that this is a great meeting point for the tri-types because you have access to open water, the jogging trail and a decent bike lane all from one point.

I got out of my car and a guy in spandex told me that the pool was flooded and it would be closed for the next few hours. Ugghhh!! Ughhh!! It was 7:45am and two attempts at swimming had been shot down. Well hell. Now what? Part of me wanted to chunk it and just head to Austin Java Co. for some morning brew. It was an ominous morning with lots of mist and fog. I remembered that I had my bike stuff in my trusty Element because I was going to bike AFTER swim class. I grabbed MY spandex and jersey and headed to the ladies locker room to change outfits from bathing suit to Lance wanna-be. As I walked out the same spandex-clad guy remarked that I was prepared for any sport! You bet I am…I began what turned into a 3 hr ride and over 43 miles.

Now, I love riding with others, but today I was glad to be by myself (even though it’s not recommended in cycling). My legs were a little trashed from yesterday’s double brick workout so I wasn’t sure what I had in me today. It turns out that I had more than I imagined. I wasn’t sure how far I would get as it looked like it was only a matter of time before it would start pouring down rain. My sunglasses would fog up occasionally with mist. I was feeling many things during my ride…Frustration at first because my schedule had been altered. I really wanted to swim this morning. Too late now. Shut up and pedal. About 5 miles into the ride, I got slightly nervous because I realized I had left my cell phone at home. Don’t you hate that paralyzing fear of forgetting your phone? I almost detoured and rode by my house, but remembered that my house keys were back in the car. I said a not-so-silent prayer for a safe ride. I did have some money, my ID and all the necessary tools to change a flat. Plus, I was riding on well-traveled roads. I’d be OK if something went wrong.

Because of the fog, I stuck to roads that had wide shoulders and/or plenty of room for cars to get by me. Four cyclists have been struck on Austin roads lately so I’m trying to ride as defensively as possible. That’s another reason to have a buddy with you. After an hour or so, I was starting to get into the groove as my mind settled in to the ride. I took a power gel for energy. Try as I might, I couldn’t avoid hills today. In fact, it seems that I went out of my way to find them…Southwest Parkway, Barton Creek Road, Bee Caves Road…All are known for their climbs (as well as a few descents). My legs were sore about halfway into the ride. I could feel the remnants of yesterday combined with the climbs of today. It wasn’t comforting knowing that I was doing an out-and-back and I’d be facing the same hills in reverse. My Half-Ironman course is FLAT…Why am I torturing myself?? I reminded myself that you’re hard-pressed to find flat roads in Austin. Like it or not, there are hills to climb. I even entertained the idea of walking the hills if my knees started getting sore. OK—I know I’m running low on energy if I’m thinking about walking the hills. Snap out of it girlie. I took another another Clif Shot at 2 hours into the ride. One more hour. You can do this! Lots of other cyclists on Bee Caves this morning. I took comfort knowing I wasn’t the only fool. My power gel kicked in and I got the elevation that I needed. Suddenly, my inner voice changed her tune and I felt strong again. Thank goodness for calories and carbs (I wish I ALWAYS felt that way!!) The rest of the ride was strong. I realized that I was actually going to make it back to my car with 15 minutes to spare. Well since I planned on a 3-hr ride, I was going to get one, damn it! I turned off a side road and took a little diversion. I road by Taco Shack. The breakfast tacos smelled delicious. Keep riding. I pulled back into Barton Springs Parking lot with 5 minutes to spare so I spent the next few minutes just doing bike sprints in the parking lot at a high cadence. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!!

43.17 miles in 3 hrs (14.3 mph). Not bad for the hills...

I wanted nothing more than to soak in the 68 degree pool to soothe my muscles, but it was still closed. What’s a girl to do?? Well, I quickly packed up my bike, slipped on my running shoes and went for a 3 mile run on the trail. It’s always amazing how ssssllloooowwwwww you feel when you begin a run from the bike. It’s almost funny to watch because you’re actually stiff and you’re trying to figure out how to lift your legs. By the same token, I’m always amazed at how fast my pace actually is off the bike. Even though it feels awkward and uncoordinated, my muscles are already warm and my HR is already elevated. I looked at my watch and I was running 8 minute miles…Not bad for just finishing a 3-hr punishing bike ride. I slowed it down just a tad and ended up running 3 miles in 25 minutes (8:18 pace). I ended back at my car once again and bought a big water and a diet coke from the snack bar where I proceeded to find the nearest picnic table and stretch for about 15 minutes. Man I felt good, although I was still a little regretful for missing a swim workout. Hey, it wasn’t like I didn’t try! At one point on the bike ride, I entertained the idea of swimming later in the afternoon, but I decided that it wasn’t in my best interest. My body and mind are tired. I’ll swim an extra day this week to make up for it. It’s ok. Besides, the swim takes the LEAST amount of time during a triathlon. It’s best to work the bike and run because that’s where you can make up (or lose) huge chunks of time.

Buzzing off the energy from this morning’s workout, I proceeded to turn this day into a day of errands that I’ve been putting off…I went home and chuckled to myself as I looked at my cell phone and NO ONE had called. Isn’t that always the case? You stress that you might miss a huge important phone call in the four hours that I was gone (from who???), but those are the times when no one calls. I showered, ate breakfast and then ventured back out into the real world and not the athlete-minded world. I went to Half-Price Books and turned in a bunch of books for cash, I went to the bank to deposit some cash, I went to the store to pick up those items that I’ve needed for a while (shower cleaner, hairspray, paper towels, etc), I stopped at the car wash to vacuum my Element, I went to the post office to purchase some stamps, I mailed My parent’s Anniversary card, Mom’s Mothers’ Day card and a couple of other hand written notes to friends who aren’t expecting an actual letter from me. Suddenly, it was 3pm.

I was hungry again so I came home and made a tuna sandwich. While I waited on a phone call from someone who is interested in buying some of my furniture (God Bless Craig’s List), I actually lay down on my couch and started reading Coach Gilbert’s book about surviving genocide in Burundi. It immediately put all of my frustrations into perspective. What an amazing human this man is…And how odd to be reading a non-fiction novel about someone I know!! Usually I read biographies about historical figures. It’s definitely a strange sensation to be reading a piece of work about someone I see a few times a week.

I rested my eyes and my cat and I took a little nap. Shawn and I are hooking up for dinner this evening since he worked all day. It was a great weekend for the body, mind and soul.

Several tasks accomplished indeed.


6:45am w.w. bread with PBJ, 1/2 cup dry kashi
7:45-11am --two Clif Shots on bike ride, diet coke when finished
11:30am bowl of cereal and another piece of bread with PBJ
3:30pm tuna melt with veggie cheese
7:30 chicken stir fry, 1/2 small chocolate Blizzard

Shawn and I are in this crazy routine of grabbing stir fry on Sundays, eating half of it and then going to DQ for a small blizzard. I eat half the blizzard and put the rest on the freezer to snack on it the rest of the week.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Double-Brick House

Mother Nature is a Bee-otch! For the 2nd weekend in a row, she unleashed her fury in the middle of the night, thereby thwarting my attempts at Saturday morning long runs.

I heard the thunder and lightening when my alarm went off at 5:45am this morning. My phone rang at 6:00am and it was my running partner, Amy. “You still want to meet at 6:30am?”

“Not really,” was my basic reply. “I’ll probably just go to my gym.”

“It’s not raining up here. Let’s meet and if it’s too bad we’ll go to my gym,” she persuaded.


Twenty minutes later I opened my front door to head to Runtex and was greeted with a flash of lightening and clap of thunder. “Screw this.” I called Amy and told her I was staying put. It’s just not worth it. Runner Mike also called around 6:30am to ask if I was going. "Nope. I basically said yesterday in my email that I would bail if it was raining." I spent the next couple of hours questioning my decision, but that's what guilt does to you. It rained constantly all morning and at times was pretty severe. I don't regret it.

I went to the gym at 8:00am when it opened and set up a spin bike for the 8:30am class. I expected it to be crowded because of the rain, but it was only about half full. I hopped on the treadmill and ran 2 miles prior to spin class. Every ¼ mile, I would alternate between a 1% and 3% grade. I finished the 2 miles just in time to put my cycling shoes on and hop on the bike for an intense 45 minute spin class. That kept my HR up near 85%-87% for the bulk of the workout. Once that was completed, I actually hopped off the spin bike and got back on the treadmill. Yep, I decided to do a double-brick workout this morning in lieu of my missed run and swim.

This time, I ran 4 miles on the treadmill. My pace wasn’t fast, but once again, I did some progressive % increases every ¼ mile. 1%-2%-1%-3%-1%-2%...etc. I really attempted to work on form and strength during this longer workout today.

Once I completed the 4 miles, I actually hopped back on a spin bike and did another 40 minutes! I kept my cadence fast on this one, but alternated between sitting and standing every 5 minutes.

I completed my workout and felt good about my efforts for the day. The “old Carrie” would’ve just skipped the workout all together. The “new Carrie” kicked the "old Carrie" in the ass and did a double workout instead.

As I type this, MORE severe storms are entering the Austin area so I’m not sure what will happen in the morning. Shawn and I were going to meet for dinner tonight, but we just cancelled that because the weather is so bad in the Austin area. I’m supposed to go to swim class at 7:15am and then get a 40 mile ride in at some point. We’ll see what happens!

Man I was hungry today!!


6am piece of bread with PBJ, coffee
10:45am bowl of kashi after morning workouts (4 bottles of water at gym and home)
11:30am met friend Dena at coffee shop and I had a small skim latte and a blueberry/yogurt biscotti
2:00pm veggie sandwich at Cosmic Café-avacado, cream cheese, mozzarella, spinach, wheat pita, water
5pm sugar free jello
6:00pm another bowl of dry kashi
8:30pm small bowl of whole wheat pasta with sundried tomatoes, small glass red wine

Friday, May 05, 2006

Obsessed Like A Teen

I’m exhausted and I didn’t even work out today. I’m like a 14-year-old boy. I think about health, fitness, training and food as much as an adolescent male (and most adult males) think about sex. A five minute period doesn’t go by where I don’t think about my next meal or my next workout. Let’s take today for instance, which is ironic since today was actually a “rest day” and I shouldn’t be thinking about it at all.

I slept in until 6:30am knowing that I wasn’t running, biking or swimming this morning. The alarm went off and the first thing I thought was, “Get up and do some core work.” Yes, it’s a rest day and I still felt like I had to do something. I got up, turned on the coffee pot and without thinking, immediately poured a bowl of cereal. I wasn’t even really hungry because I’d had my fill of sushi the night before. It’s just a normal routine to eat something as soon as I get up and before I work out. So, I eat my dry kashi in between sets and reps of upper body work with my weight bar. I’d do a set of bicep curls, eat a bite of food. I’d do a set of shoulder presses, eat a bite of food. The whole time I’m obsessing about the fact that I’m eating without really being hungry. I’ve turned into a mindless food machine.

I had an 8:30am client meeting following by a 10:00am client meeting. By 11:30am, I was starved. However, I had to exchange my swim fins for a smaller pair. I stopped by Lane Four Swim Shop to take care of business. The bigger fins were giving me calf and charlie horse cramps as I had to work hard to keep them on my feet. Not good. I debated about stopping somewhere and grabbing food or just going the cheap route and eating something at work. I headed back to the office and immediately ate my leftovers from yesterday. I was going to eat a PBJ, but chicken stir fry sounded so much better. Of course, so did the small piece of chocolate that I also ate.

My boss had brought in her ab ball so I grabbed it and am using it for my desk chair. It’s my subconscious way of working that core. Every now and then, I’d lean back and do some crunches. My co-workers already think I’ve left my mind at the train depot. This confirms what they think. I’m obsessed. While sitting at my desk, I email some of my running buddies. “What’s the plan for tomorrow morning? I’m in for a slow 10-12 miles.” Replies come in immediately. 6:30am at Runtex. Perfect. Maybe I can swim at Barton Springs afterward. Stop it, Carrie.

By 3:30pm, I’m hungry again. Slightly concerned about that since I didn’t actually burn a bunch of calories this morning. Why am I so damn hungry? I drank 3 bottles of water. Nope, that didn’t really work. At 3:30pm, my coworker handed me a packet of Weight Control Oatmeal and says that this Banana Bread is her favorite flavor yet. I can’t resist. With plenty of protein and fiber, I feast. She’s right. That’s good stuff.

It’s 4:15 and I’m thinking about dinner. I’m not hungry, but I’m planning ahead. I’ve got a long run and swim in the morning. I should probably eat some pasta or some whole grain something or other. No drinking planned tonight since I had some saki and a glass of wine last night. I just can’t handle my liquor like I used to!

I checked out all of my usual blogs and read their daily updates. I read entries from athletes who talk about 2 and 3 workouts per day, track splits, 3500m swims at 5:30am, weight sessions, etc.…My first reaction is, “You people are insane!!!!” Then, I look in the mirror and smile…and think about dinner again.

6:30am Bowl of dry Kashi cereal
11:45am left over chicken stir fry and a Spring Roll, piece of chocolate
3:30pm 3 bottles of water and a bowl of banana bread oatmeal
6pm 1 frozen margarita (so much for that non-drinking thing. It was Cinco de Mayo afterall), a couple of chips, dinner salad with salsa as dressing
no dinner after that--finally I was full

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Letting Go...

In an attempt to “unclutter” my life, I find myself cluttering up my mind with unnecessary and unfounded worry and anxiety. As our new home nears completion, I have to decide whether to sell my condo or attempt to rent it. In the meantime and as a way of transitioning into this new phase, I get home every night (usually at the crack 9:00pm) and make it a goal to throw something away. Instead of pitching everything at once during a big move, I’m choosing to ease into my new unknown world at my own snail’s pace. Of course, this usually leads into a personal battle of “should I or shouldn’t I” with certain things, but it’s a cleansing process I’m happy to go through. It’s just got me on a slight emotional roller coaster. I’ve been on my own for over 10 years now. I moved to Texas by myself, bought my first appliances and furniture by myself and even bought my condo by myself. I can toot the “I’m Independent” trumpet, but it’s not necessary to do so. However, now for the first time in my adult life, I’m moving to the next phase with the man of my dreams, thereby relinquishing some of that, “This is my place and I’ll do whatever I want with it” attitude. I can’t wait to begin this phase of my life. I can’t wait to donate my kitchen table that I’ve had for 10 years that still has nicks on it from playing “quarters” with my drinking girlfriends when we were 23 years old and living in our first house post-college. I’m anxious to give my perfectly decent couches to a family who is in much more need than me. Strangely enough, it’s the little things I’m having difficulty with as one can imagine…Photos that I’ve had on display of family and friends, a unique crucifix that was given to me as a gift, the framed autographed poster from the touring company of “Grease” that means nothing to no one except me, the caricature-type painting of my cat that only a mother could love, the old CDs and, yes, cassettes of certain artists that bring back some hellacious memories, old earrings and necklaces from past styles that are sure to come back someday, race shirts that I swear I’m going to turn into a quilt, a box of old tapes of my radio disc jockey days (I no longer own a cassette player), a small box of certain collectibles from my youth including a “Little Orphan Annie” doll and some Bugs Bunny/Gossamer collectibles (such an interesting monster, with an interesting hairdo), old magazines and newspapers chronicling important history in my short-lived life (Challenger, Princess Di, 9/11, etc)…How do you say good-bye to these little things? Or, do you say good-bye at all? I have absolutely no need for most of these items. Every couple of years I’ll open a box, smile, reminisce and then close the box. That box then gets moved to my next house. The pattern repeats. I’m not a rat pack by any stretch of the imagination. My house is very uncluttered. I am, however, sentimental and I attach emotions to certain inanimate objects that are special to me. Therefore, when I come home at night and try to “unclutter” my life by throwing certain unnecessary items out, it usually ends up being the bottles of ketchup and mustard that I’ve had in my fridge since 1998. Hey, at least it’s something. This week, I’ve recycled old magazines, donated clothes to Goodwill (I was so hoping stirrup pants would come back), thrown away about 10 half-burned candles with no wick, pitched some files and items from previous jobs that I no longer need and I’ve begun a used book pile that I’ll deliver this weekend. I’ve sold my old road bike and I’ll probably post a couple of other items on Craig’s List. I’m making progress slowly but surely. I can totally tell that I’m in that awkward moment of wanting to move on to the next phase, but not wanting to lose ME in the process. Like it or not…Understand it or not…certain items represent the person I am and I’m proud of that person.

How do people who have lost loved ones decide what and when to throw away? It boggles my mind that people have to do this through death, divorce and breakups. I’m just glad I get to do it under the most ideal circumstances.

Here’s to the next phase!

Workout: Slow 7 mile recovery job with Kim, Thon and Richard at 6:30am
6:15am bread with PB and Honey
9:30am kashi, yogurt, berries
12noon--pita chips
1:30pm Firebowl-chicken stir fry with veggies and brown rice
piece of chocolate
3pm A damn rep came in and brought more chocolate so I had to partake!
7:00pm SUSHI!! Edamame, sake and glass of pinot grigio

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Strongest Weakness

I had a great double-workout today that was a slight confidence booster on my two weakest sports in the triathlon discipline. This morning ay 6:45am, I headed towards the Veloway/South Mopac area for a morning 17 mile bike ride. My original goal was to do the 8 mile loop twice, with the first 8 miles being a warmup and the 2nd 8 miles being the actual workout. I wanted to give it all I had on that second trip around South Mopac. Problem?? I shot my wad on the first 8 miles (sorry for the graphic metaphor). As soon as I started my mock "time trial," I found myself instantly in race mode and decided to give it all I had on that first loop. The good news is that I set a new PR for me at 25:30 (19 mph avg). The bad news? When I look at the results of the people that do the monthly time trials on the same course, I still fall way in the bottom third. I have to remind myself that a lot of the top-notch triathletes and cyclists do these time trials each month. Some of them avg between 25-30 mph, which is pretty insane. Very few "mere mortal cyclists" take part in these time trials. I rode for a mile just to recover and feel my legs and headed out on the 2nd 8 mile loop. There was no way I could beat thetime on the first loop. I just rode comfortably and worked on gaining power in the aero position. I finished the 2nd loop in 26:52 (18.1 mph). If I can avg between 17-18mph during the Half-Ironman, I'll be freaking giddy. Overall, I was pleased with the workout even though I'd still eventually like to be in the 23-24 minute range. My legs were definitely fatigued by the end as I tried to focus on the pull as much as the push of the pedals.

The swim workout tonight kicked my booty, but I completed 2650 meters total...We did tons of drills to warm-up and cool-down, but the actual workout was a killer for me.
4 x 150m (avg time3:23-3:31)
5 x 100m (avg time2:15-2:20)
6 x 50s (avg time 1:05)
I haven't done a lot of interval/pace clock swimming and had to work extremely hard to stay on pace. The slower you go, the shorter your rest breaks. Towards the end, my form was breaking down and my breathing was labored and difficult. I lost my 3 stroke breathing pattern and I wasn't full catching the water beneath me. HOWEVER, I finished the complete workout once again proving that I CAN do this swimming thing! It's not easy and I'm not fast, but I'm getting better!

I noticed something interesting about swimming. I hear my inner voice louder with swimming than I do any other sport. I don't know if I can adequately explain. When I'm running, I can hear my feet on the trail, my breathing, birds, cars and other runners. When I'm biking, I hear my pedals , cars and the wheels of my Kestrel. Because I'm swimming under the water surface (ideally), I don't hear anything external. I don't hear the swimmers in front of me breathing or switching gears. I don't hear them complaining about the heat or their arms. It's just me and my inner voice that taunts me..."You can't catch that girl in front of you." "You're falling behind." "Don't forget to breathe." "Work on the catch." etc, etc...Sometimes it's frustrating, but tonight it was good because having that "inner annoyance" also allowed me to fully focus on the task and not everything else around me. I don't fully understand this sport, but I'm slowly but surely unlocking the mysteries of swimming.

I plan to swim at Barton Springs in my wetsuit on Friday morning and then go to their Sunday morning workout. Even though I ate a healthy portion of cereal before swimming, I was still famished post-workout.

6:15am w.w. toast with PB and honey
9:30am Kashi, blueberries, yogurt (coffee with soy milk)
1:00pm Zen--steak and veggies stir fried on udon noodles, 1 crab spring roll, 1/2 oatmeal raisin cookie
6:00 1/2 turkey sandwich and bowl of kashi with yogurt
9:30 2 small raviolis that I nuked

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Musical Memories

When I was younger, I wanted to be a famous singer. I thought it was a problem that I couldn't sing until I heard most of theartists out there today. What is it about music that sparks memories and sends shivers down your spine when you least expect it?

Journey's "Open Arms" reminds me of when our dog Cocoa "disappeared" (Mom says she gave him away...yeah, right) We still haven't forgiven Mom and Dad for that one :-) I still think of that fugly little animal whenever I hear that song which, 20 years later, is still frightfully A LOT.

Kenny and Dolly's "Islands in the Stream" reminds me of my childhood boyfriend Spence. There's nothing like two 12-year-olds roller skating to, "And we rely on each other...ah ah...From one lover to another...ah ah."

...and then there's "Endless Love." I remember watching that movie my Freshman year in high school at an all-girl slumber party. We all were bawling at the end when the song played over the credits. I still get chills when I hear that damn piano intro with "My love...there's only you in my life; the only thing that's right."

High school is totally full of musical memories and flashbacks that ignite anger, pain and downright giddiness.
I was dumped to Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." I made out to Whitesnake's "Is this Love," I did the "running man" at all the school dances to every Bobby Brown song and Bell Biv Devoe's "Do Me Baby." I attempted to throw my bra onstage at a New Kids concert, but seeing as though I was in the balcony, I think it just landed on the 9 year old girl who was 2 rows in front of me on the ground level. That's probably the first time she ever saw a bra.

Ahhh...there are so many more musical memories that would take years to compile.

My point?? I love music because it just does SOMETHING to you. I'm such a total cornball. This morning during spin class, they played an 80's mix of "We Will Rock You" followed by "Eye of the Tiger." I immediately started pedaling faster and working with more intensity. I was instantly transported back to the Boston Marathon (and every other marathon) because all along the course you hear "Eye of the Tiger" blasting out of stereos, houses, cars and boomboxes. Just the intro gets me pumped. C'mon do it with me now..." bum...bum, bum, bum...bum, bum, bum...bum, bum, bum." Don't you want to sprint right now for no good reason??? :-) Can't you feel your heart rate rising?? "Rising up out on the street..." I don't even know what the hell the lyrics say and I don't really care. That's just one of those songs that gets me going and makes me laugh at the same time! It certainly made the SPin Class go much faster!

This morning's workout was great: Spin 45 minutes between 80-85% of Max HR--I didn't cool down, but I immediately hopped on the treadmill for a 3 mile run at approx 9 min pace. I certainly wasn't going for speed. My goal is to simply work on that T2 from bike to run.

I finished it up with about 25 minutes of stretching and core work.

"It's the Eye of the Tiger. It's the thrill of the fight rising up to the challenge of our rivals. And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night and he's watching us all with the Eye......of the Tiger."

5:15am 1/2 w.w. tortilla with PB and honey (3 bottles of water at gym)
9:15am kashi, soy milk, blueberries
12:15pm Vivos Mexican--yikes! some tortilla chips, 2 puffy tacos-one with tofu, one with chicken, brown rice and refried beans
5pm carrots, tortilla with PBJ