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

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Wise Fortune Cookie

On Sunday night, my husband and I ate dinner at one of our favorite stir fry places in town called Firebowl Café. It’s the perfect post-swim meal for a Sunday night. I absolutely love the “veggie bar” where I get to fill up a bowl with my favorite fresh veggies that will then be stir-fried up with my sauce of choice and brown rice on the side. The beauty is that the portions are so big that you instantly have Monday lunch as well as Sunday dinner.

We ended our meal with the obligatory Asian restaurant fortune cookie and my dear boy opened his, read it and said, “I think this one was meant for you.” The cookie read the following:

You are focusing only on yourself these days.

Audible gasp…“Ouch!” I said.

Realizing that I was slightly flabbergasted, he laughed and gave me the whole, “I meant it in a good healthy way. I’m complimenting you,” reasoning. (i.e. backpedaling)

We basically both laughed it off, but I gotta admit that it stung a bit. Yes, I am focusing on myself with the scrutiny of a microscope on an amoeba, but also with the hope of making myself fitter, healthier, stonger, faster and happier. But, am I doing it to the detriment of other relationships? Am I taking all of this just a tad too far? Was he expressing some emotions in a slightly passive agressive way?

Is he right?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Workout Recap for the Week

Do you like pie? Man oh man, do I love pie. It's hard to beat the sweetness and tartness of a good ol' apple or cherry pie. I mean, they must be good right? McDonalds sells them afterall in a plastic container. I will say that my favorite pie as of recent years is pumpkin pie. YUM!! I can hardly wait until Thanksgiving just thinking about it. While I haven't had any slices of that recently, this past week I did get a big old hunk of HUMBLE PIE. Yep, I sure did. And that can only mean one thing...I started back to T3 swim classes this past week. So while I was blogging humiliating pictures of myself, I was also partaking in other forms of humiliation as well :-) Actually, it wasn't so bad. I mean, I'm slow, but that's nothing new. It was just confirmed as I swam in adjacent lanes with others who were finishing a good :30 sec before I did. Some good news did come out of all of it though. My endurance level has definitely improved as I was able to finish both workouts this week and complete all of the repeats. The other good news is that I don't get the overwhelming sick feeling I used to get while on my way to the pool. Seriously, I would get stomach aches and a foreboding sense of dread as I was driving to the pool. I envision this must be a similar feeling to a dog who knows they're headed for the vet. I would wonder, "Why am I putting myself through this?" That's one of the reasons I loved the Endless pools at Castle Hill. I had my own lane. Hell, I had my own pool. I didn't lose to anyone. But you know what? I'm back with a renewed sense of passion and even if it's just an inkling of it, my confidence and comfort levels are growing. I just have to STICK WITH IT!!

The rain continued most of this week killing pretty much all chances of a long bike ride, so I had to improvise on the trainer a couple of times. Also, my running was pretty weak as well this week as I didn't hit my Gazelle workouts at all. In any event, here is the recap:

Monday, July 23rd AM

REST DAY since we had done Marble Falls Tri the day before.

Tuesday, July 24th

AM 9 Mile Run with Thon--recovery pace in the low 9:00s

PM- did lots of core work at work and with Shawn since we skipped Monday

Wednesday, July 25th

AM Bike Trainer for 1 hour in the am--Zone 3

PM-Jack and Adams Corture Class

Thursday, July 26th AM

T3 Swim Class-2800m complete with speedwork, drills, fins, paddles, etc.

Friday, July 27th AM

13-Mile Long Run with Thon. What a strange run it turned out to be. We opted for a challenging and hilly course that included the neighborhoods of Rollingwood and Barton Hills. We were actually clipping along at a nice pace of about 8:40s when we both started to get a bit dehydrated around Mile 10. We stopped and bought bottles of Gatorade endurance and downed them pretty quickly. About a mile further, we both developed the most debillitating side cramps that pretty much stopped both of us in our tracks. It was seriously as if we were being stabbed repeatedly in the side. We stopped after 13 miles and called it a day. Strange indeed....

Saturday, July 28th AM

AM T3 Swim Class-Was a good class because there was only 5 of us. Lots of personal attention this morning. It's all about the catch and pull. 2700m total

PM--attempted to hit the road for a bike ride, but flatted about 10 minutes into the ride. It took 10 minutes to change the tire and I was so frustrated that I just said, "screw it" and went home. Plus, Shawn and I were heading to San Antonio to visit the in-laws.


AM-Went for a quick 30 min jog with Shawn at his parent's house.

PM- Because it was storming sporadically around town, I hopped on the bike trainer for an hour and 30 minutes while catching up on Season 2 of "The Office." Definitely not as fun as being in the great outdoors, but I also didn't have to change a flat in the rain. It's better than nothing, I suppose.

PM- So then we went to the pool and I banged out a quick 1000m swim (20 laps)-no speed, just form focus

Friday, July 27, 2007

Caption Contest--No Shame

Because I have no self-pride, let's have a little fun with this picture. Ya know?? It's not so much that my girls are making quite the appearance, it's the fact that they look awkwardly uneven! Was I running in a sink hole?? Am I melting in the heat??? I swear I'm not this droopy in real life (or am I ?!?!) I started thinking of some good captions and with the aid of martinis, beer and wine, we came up with a few more.

"Training Peaks"

"Carrie is clearly excited about her race"

"The Ups and Downs of Racing"

"Points of Interest"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Little Word Play

I don't get this picture, but it made me giggle!

Here's a small list of random words that we say more often simply because they have "tri" in them:

Trick: My description of doing 3 workouts in one day. It's not a brick; it's a trick.

Trivial: How most of our problems seem after spending 6 hours on a bike saddle.

Trim: Less than 10% body fat? That's pretty freakin' trim!

Trimester: Yeah, it's used in pregancies, but training for Ironman is kinda like giving birth (so I'm told)

Trident: Sure there's less than 5 calories a piece, but when you're hungry, anything will do.

Trilogy: Father-Son-Holy Spirit...Yes, we must pray a lot.

Trip: Every triathlon is definitely a trip. Whether it's 70.3 or 140.6, you're definitely headed somewhere.

Triage: It may be fun to say, but let's hope none of us need it!!

What else?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Isn't She Lovely?

"Isn't She Lovely? Isn't She Wonderful? Isn't She Precious..."

(I sooooo would not do well on that new "Singing Bee" TV Show because I'm pretty much done after that. Stevie Wonder would be ashamed.)

In any event, there she is. The schematic of my new Crono which is being built as I type. It's a bunch of numbers and angles and percentages that mean absolutely NOTHING to me, but will hopefully mean the world to my butt when it attempts to train for and compete in an Ironman next Spring.

The end result of all of the geekiness? a 650c Guru Crono that will look remarkably like this baby. (minus the $1600 racing wheels for now--my husband loves me, but there are limits.)

However, where this bike is blue, mine will be red. (A girl who hails from Columbus, Ohio can't escape the glorious Ohio State colors of Scarlet and Gray. ) The sad thing? The paint job was fully customizable. I could've gone pink and purple, teal and red, gold and black, chocolate brown and powder blue...you name it. What did I go for instead? The colors that I'll never tire of. The colors that I'll never say, "What was I thinking???"

Plus, doesn't red make you go faster?

God, I hope so...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Marble Falls Sprint Triathlon

Last year at this race, I finished 5th in my age group and felt like I was on top of the world. I really point to this race as a breakthrough for me because, up to that point, it was the closest I had come to being "on the podium." Since then, I've had some great races and have built a little more confidence in my triathlon abilities. My goal for this year was to try to come in the Top 3 of my age group. It seemed doable, but as we were driving out to Marble Falls this morning at 5am, I told Shawn that I wasn't sure where any extra time would come from besides the swim. I remember giving it all I had last year to finish with a 2:13.

It ended up being a gorgeous morning for a race in Marble Falls, which was surprising due to the recent amounts of rain. The weather kept many people away this year, but it was definitely their loss. I was happy to be there. And you know what? It doesn't matter how many races I do. I still get nervous as hell as my age group is corralled into the water. Nothing beats that combination of nervousness, fear and excitement. That odd combination of "What the hell am I doing here" and "I can't imagine being anywhere else at this moment."

1000M Swim
What can I say? It was a typical swim for me. Start in the back and end in the back. I felt relaxed the whole time, but I just could not get speed to save my life. I always end up in "no mans land" swimming by myself. So...I finished 12th out of 15th in my age group on the swim with a 21:32. Here was the shocker. Last year, I exited the water in 26 minutes! Either last year's course was long or this year's course was short. Either way, I'll take it! I was starting the race with 5 minutes in the bag. Yes! I also have to justify my performance by saying I was less than 2 minutes away from being in the middle of the swimming pack. (of course 2 minutes in a swim is a long time, but I stray).

23 Mile Bike Ride
The first mile sucks as you have to climb up a bridge immediately. I was having trouble from the start getting any form of rhythm. Plus, my legs were rearing their ugly heads from our long bike the day before. Right away, my mind was like, "Just give up. Don't attempt it. Today is not your day." However, my body wouldn't quit. My heart was beating like a newborn as I struggled to gain control. The first 5 miles were rough as they were mostly uphill on the frontage of an interstate. Once we hit Route 71, I finally started finding my energy. "OK Carrie...Here we go." I saw a few women up ahead. I passed them. I saw a couple more and after a while, I passed them. All in all, I passed 12 women on the bike and was passed by one woman who was just tearing it up! I looked at her calf and she was 60 YEARS OLD! You go girl!! She was on a Guru Crono. I hope I'm that graceful on mine when it comes in! The last few miles back to town are the reward for the climbing on the way out. I probably averaged about 25 mph on the last 5 miles, hitting over 30mph on some of the downhills. I got back to transition in 1:12:36 for an avg of 19mph. That was good enough for #2 in my age group. Last years time?? 1:12:45! I had 9 more seconds in the bag :-)

4.4 Mile Run
It was starting to get hot out there by this point. Last year, this course seemed to fly by. Today was a different story. I did what I do best and just tried to keep a fast relaxed cadence. About a 1/2 mile into the run, I passed a group of 4 women, one of which was my friend Katy who was kicking butt!! (she had a 14 minute swim for God's sake!) I missed the first mile marker so I did catch my split until Mile 2. It was a 14:30. That meant that the first two miles were 7:15s. I was running well, but I was definitely starting to fade. I can't wait to see the official pics because I'm sure they are hilarious. My hair was flying out of the visor. My race belt was positioned in such a way that it was making my tri top expose a little too much belly. I was running fast, but my mind was starting to fade a bit even with a gel shot at Mile 1. In fact, I was telling myself to just slow down. I was convincing myself that no one would pass me and that I should just relax. ha ha ha... Try to tell a triathlete to relax with one mile to go. Whatever. I hit Mile 3. 7:28. Yep, I was definitely fading. The last mile went fast (Thank you Baby Jesus in the Manger) and we made the final turn up a gravel hill towards the finish. I pushed it as hard as I could and crossed the finish line with arms extended.
My run split was a 32:08, which was a 7:18 pace...Good for #1 in my age group!
Ironically, in 2006, I had a 7:09 pace for the run so the only place I lost time today was on my strongest discipline!

FINAL TIME: 2:08:55
2nd place in my Age Group and a 5 minute PR from last year.

While I'm obviously very pleased with my time, I must give props to those women out there who were just kicking some tail! I was the 19th female overall out of 93 women and I gave it all I had. I don't even think a week of rest would've had much impact on today's race. Some of these women and men are just incredible athletes.

So, what a weekend it was!!
Friday: 17 mile Run
Saturday: 59 mile Bike
Sunday: Marble Falls Sprint Tri

All in the bag.

I let myself go tonight at South Congress Cafe and indulged in a margarita, mojito, appetizers, a meal and dessert baby! (That's probably why I was 19th instead of 1st!) ha ha That's ok...it was well worth it.

On Monday, I rest (ok...except for corture class)

Saturday-Miles of Fun

Don't try to make it to Oklahoma on a quarter tank of gas.

It that's not a country song, it should be. Perhaps I'll write it. It would go a little something like this.

On Saturday, Shawn and I headed out to ride the 56 mile Longhorn Triathlon Course. It starts and ends at Decker Lake, but winds through some beautiful country roads of Manor, Elgin and Webberville. I'd never even heard of the town of Webberville until yesterday. Because of all the rain, we decided to wait until early afternoon to head out to let the roads dry. At 12 miles into the ride, I had already convinced myself it was going to be a horrible day. Within 45 minutes, we had run into a closed road on the map (had to detour a couple of miles), Shawn's chained had dropped, I dropped $17 out of my pocket when trying to grab the map and it started to rain AGAIN. Fortunately, we pulled into a Shell gas station and spent the next hour at a freaking convenience store drinking hot chocolate and waiting for the storm to pass. You witness some interesting things when hanging out in a convenience store. I honestly thought we would throw in the towel. We even talked about calling some friends to come pick us up, but we waited it out. Finally, the rain subsided and we hit the roads again. It was 3:00pm. I couldn't believe it. We were moving forward. The course is good and fair...Some rollers, but lots of scenic flat stretches. We weren't really pushing it because we had a triathlon on Sunday. For me, it was mainly about just getting the miles and getting some spurts of pace riding. At one point, we passed a Sheriff's car and he actually got on his speaker and said, "Need to borrow my rain coat?" Very cute indeed. And here I thought we were going to get the, "What are you city folk doing on my country roads this time of day trying to emulate that Tour day France? Take your stretchy bike pants and pansy colored shirts and get back to Austin where the rest of you weird people hang out." Shows you how close-minded I am.

I learned something that I already know. You cannot (I repeat CANNOT) ride 56-60 miles on one 20oz bottle of fluid, even if it does have a Nuun electrolyte replacement tablet in it. I know, I know...not exactly sure what I was thinking except I was convinced that we would pass another gas station or a hose or a troth or something. By Mile 45, we were toast. Shawn was worse off than I was because he's a sweater! I always know when I'm bonking on the bike. My mind goes first and I start to get agitated. I just want to quit. Every hill is a mountain and every downhill is just used for recovery. We saw a brand new park that I'm convinced was just a mirage. I think God put it there temporarily. We stopped and, by the grace of God, it had water fountains. Neither one of us had 10 miles left at that point. That water was my saving grace. I was able to take a Power Gel and gain the strength I needed to finish the last 10 miles strong. I ended the ride at 59 miles.

Shawn was a different story and he gave me the scare of a lifetime. I had gained some distance and was waiting by the car for a few minutes assuming he was close behind. After 5 minutes, I got a little nervous and started riding the course backwards. Less than .25 miles away, I saw his bike laying by the side of the road and his body lying next to it. He was flat on his back. I ran up to him and asked if he was ok. A slurred "Huh?" was all I got in return. He was out. I mean out. Fortunately, the car was close so I grabbed my key from his bike and hauled ass back to the car to grab water and gatorade. As I was riding back, a guy in a car stopped and asked if he was ok. All I could think to say was, "He's thirsty." I was back within two minutes and was immensely relieved to see Shawn sitting up drinking water courtesy of the stranger who stopped and happened to have a jug of cold water in his car. The stranger (Kenneth--another act of God?) had poured water on his wrists to cool down his core temperature. Within 10 minutes, he had downed about 60 ounces of fluid and was regaining his wits. We joked that he was literally less than 1/4 mile away from being finished when he lost it. Just one more turn and he was there. He's ridden this road a few times and had no idea where he was at.

Suffice to say, we learned our lesson the hard way. While we got the miles in, it didn't come without a sacrifice. Stupid, elementary, cycling 101 rookie mistake.

The good news? I didn't lose the $17 afterall. I found it in my Bento Box. Sweet.

Marble Falls Triathlon Recap coming soon

Friday, July 20, 2007

Blame It On the Rain

Last year at this time, I was dealing with "Barney the Barnacle" on my inner thigh. This year, I've befriended "Beulah the Blister" on my foot. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a long run and had the tiniest of pebbles in my left shoe near my big toe. I'm talking grain of sand...big enough to know it was there, but small enough to not be bothered by it...or so I thought. That molecule of dust created a blister between my first two toes. Now, it's summertime in Austin and I wear flip flops pretty much every day. That little booger has expanded right where the flip flop shoe cuts in to your foot. Needless to say, the last few days have been painful. (sorry for the next sentence) Now, like most runners, I try to deny that I'm in any pain so I've popped and drained it a couple of times this week--no wonder why it keeps raining in Austin! I thought it was done, but now it just keeps feeling more and more sore making me suspicious that there may be a little infection.

So, in true classic denial form, I got up this morning for my 17 miler with Thon and Amy. It hurt immediately so I started favoring my heel and tried not to put any weight on the big toe making my smallest toes and ankle bear the brunt of the impact. Of course, now I was running with an awkward gait only increasing my risk of injury. Well, by Mile 6, it started pouring down rain. I mean POURING. By Mile 9, we were at pretty much the farthest point of our out and back route so it wasn't like we could stop. By Mile 12, dodging puddles and raindrops were futile. In fact, we turned into 4-year-old kids and just started splashing through them, giving commuters a good laugh or two from their dry cars. Shoal Creek Road was a mess on either side. We tried to stay in the bike lane or on the curb, but in most places, water was up to our ankles and calves even. I was constantly acutely aware of "Beulah" and every now and then I'd take a step that would send shivers up my spine. With my soaking wet socks and shoes, I knew bad stuff was happening under the laces of the Mizunos. Amy cut off around 14 as she had to catch a flight to Lubbock while Thon and I continued back to his house for three more miles. Naturally, it had stopped raining at this point so now we both weighed about 10 extra pounds from the soaking wet clothes. Through it all, I was able to pick up the pace for the last couple of miles for a couple of 8:30s. Overall, we averaged about a 9:05 pace which wasn't bad considering the detours and slow downs along the way. That does not include our Gatorade stops though, which were funny in their own way. We hit the gas station at Mile 6 when it started pouring and dripped puddles to the fridge aisle. We hit it again on our way back at Mile 10 and, once again, left a sopping mess. The clerk was like, "Weren't you just here?" Dude, that was soooo four miles ago.

Now, I'm a few hours removed and feel a little residual pain in my left ankle since I attempted to run on the outside of my foot as much as possible. Beulah the Blister??? She's pretty much spread to my big toe and has made the bottom of my foot swell...Oh what the hell. See for yourself. (Runners share EVERYTHING) ...and at least my purse on the right is cute.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Believe It, Live It

A film crew of Boy Scouts were at our Gazelle workout this morning. They are shooting a film based on faith and perserverance and wanted to film a segment on Coach G--the ultimate authority on both of the above attributes. The theme or name of the film (not sure which one) is "Believe It, Live It." I'm sure these young boys couldn't believe that they were filming at 5:45am in the morning, but they were sure living it. I was interviewed briefly and stressed that Gilbert is one of the few coaches who really does coach from his heart. Yes, he cares about time and splits. But mostly, he wants you to love what you're doing. It's obvious that we do as we all just keep coming back for more day after day.

I've got an interesting few days ahead and I'm actually anxious for all of it. I Believe in It. So, It's Time to Live It. It's my first weekend of long workouts capped with a Sprint Tri on Sunday. Thon, Amy and I are doing our long run of the week on Friday. It's going to be my first 18 miler since before the Dallas Marathon last December. It might be a little premature to hit 18 miles, but I really do have two big races this winter--the Tri 101 which will require an 18 mile (30K) run after an 80 mile bike ride and the Sunmart 50K Trail Run in December. Both obviously require some serious build-up.

On Saturday, Shawn and I are hitting the roads for a 56-Mile Bike Ride. In fact, we're going to ride the Longhorn Triathlon course that's taking place in Austin in October (A Half-Ironman Distance). This will be my longest ride in several months, but if we take it nice and slow, it shouldn't be a problem. We'll probably attempt a short 20 min run off the bike as well. Anyone is welcome to join us!

Finally, on Sunday morning, we're heading out to Marble Falls for the Marble Falls Sprint Tri. I was 5th in my age group last year, but am shooting for Top 3 this year. Not sure how attendance will be as the lake was recently flooded and shut down. If I grow a third ear out of my neck, we'll know that the water wasn't safe. It's actually a little longer than a traditional Sprint Tri---1k swim/23mi bike/4.4mi run. If I can exit the water in the middle of the pack this year, I should be in good shape. We'll see!!

BUT...speaking of times, here is a Mid Week Recap of this week's workouts.

Long Swim at Barton Springs Pool 6 laps = 2400 yards
8:46, 8:49, 8:50, 8:49, 9:07, 9:23 (form breakdown occuring on last one)

Corture Class with Josh. We did a ladder style workout...10 different exercises 1:00/:40/:20/:20/:40/1:00 with :10 rest in between each repeat...Exercises included planks, pushups, scissors, feet in circles, boxer crunchers, squat jumps, side planks, etc. He's picking up nicely where Adam left off.

Wilke Hill Repeats

Parked at Barton Springs Pool and Did a longer warm up jog to the hill
8x forward
3x backward
3x sprint
Long cool down and strides back to pool

Total mileage= 9 miles

Really feeling fatigued from the last few days so I slept in and skipped morning workout, which probably should've been a bike ride or swim.

Hit Corture in the Afternoon. Pat wasn't there so we did a more traditional Adam-style class and held our positions longer. Typical planks, side planks, 8-count body builders, push ups, kicks, supermans, etc.

After Core Class, Shawn and I headed over to Deep Eddy Pool for a 30 minute swim. I got 20 laps in for about 1340 meters. Felt incredibly comfortable in the water and not fatigued at all. I did a couple of Sprints, but just stayed relaxed for the most part. Why can't it feel like that during a race?!?

1200s on the Track

1.5 mile warm up from home to track. I thought it was going to be a bad day because I actually fell on the way.What a dork.

5:00, 5:02, 4:56 (noticed I was feeling strong so attached myself to the group ahead), 4:49, 4:50
800 jog on track with strides/high knees
1.5 mile cool down back home
Total Mileage = 7 miles and some change

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Future Triathlete Stud

So, I was visiting my friend Susan last night and she has the most adorable 3-year-old boy named Patrick. Of course, he was a little wound up because "Aunt Carrie" was over to visit and insisted on showing me every toy, truck, ball and train he has in his possession. It wasn't so much a "show and tell" as it was a "dump and point" demonstration. He would dump out a box of toys, point to a few of them and then move on to the next box of surprises.

Like most young kids on a summer night, Patrick was itching to ride his bicycle. But first, he wanted a popsicle. We cut a deal...Let's go for a bike ride first and THEN we'll get some ice cream (I'm learning good bribery parenting skills already). He still wasn't having it. He wanted his popsicle now. I remembered I had my bike in my car (in case the mood suddenly strikes to go riding) and I said, "Let me show you my cool bicycle and we'll ride together!" Well...that did it! He was so excited to see Aunt Carrie's bike and insisted that I ride to the ice cream store in Old Town Buda right next to him. Well...ladies...riding a tri bike in a skirt and flip flops IS as complicated as it sounds, but very humorous nonetheless. Even though it was only about .25 miles to the ice cream store, you'd think he just rode the race of his life. He even had to climb a little hill and cross some railroad tracks--difficult for even the most experienced riders!

Our reward? A little cup of ice cream and an orange Scooby Doo Push Up. And, yes, I ate the ice cream.

Here is Patrick practicing his aero position!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Workout Recap: Week of 7/9/07

For my records and comparisons, here is a recap of last week's workouts. Lots of visible improvement on the swimming workouts!

(Boring numbers for everyone else)

Monday 7/9/07 AM

7 Mile Pace Run...See separate post about that one.

Monday PM 7/9/07

Corture with Josh...Did 5 sets of the following and held each for 1 min. No rest in between exercises, but got a minute in between each full set.

plank, pushups, mountain climbers, high knee jumps, scissor kicks, leg circles in the air, legs 6 inches in the air, side plank, squat jumos

Tuesday 7/10/07 AM
Jogged 2 miles to Reed Park on Pecos
Swam for 22 minutes
Jogged 2 miles back home

...ah, the beauty of a tri suit...no changing required

Wednesday 7/11/07 AM
Swim Workout at the Gym
6 x 50 warmup swim
10 x 50 drills (catch up, bow and arrow, fist, etc)
10 x 25 spint (:25-:28 each length)
10 x 100 (2:00-2:07)
3 x 50 cool down

Total 2200

Wednesday 7/11/07 PM

Corture with Tri-Stud Pat Evoe...lots of isometric exercises and stuff for hips and glutes. Not nearly as physically painful as before, but definitely beneficial. Afterall, Pat is a tri-stud. we also did lots of the same ab exercises as we do with Gazelle training.

Thursday 7/12/07 AM

400s on the track
1.5 mile warm up from house to track
16 x 400s with 1min in between

1:34, 1:33, 1:35, 1:34, 1:35, 1:33, 1:34, 1:34, 1:35, 1:34, 1:33, 1:35, 1:35, 1:33, 1:34, 1:24*

* gave it all I had left

Felt very comfortable the entire time. I believe it's the first time I actually ever completed all 16 of them. 4 miles of speed on the track. yay.

1.5 mile cool down back home

Friday 7/13/07 AM

Solo Swim Workout at gym...Found an old T3 workout so I thought I'd do a year to year comparison of where I'm at with swimming.

6 x 50 warm up
10 x 50 drills
Swim Set #1: without paddles
80% 400 (8:21) Last July: 9:20
85% 200 (4:06) Last July: 4:49
90% 100 (1:58) Last July: 2:15

Swim Set #2: with paddles and buoy
80% 400 (7:25) Last July: 9:00
85% 200 (3:37) Last July: 4:20
90% 100 (1:47) Last July: 2:00

2 x 50 cool down laps

Total 2300

**Obviously a huge improvement for me from year to date. Feeling more comfortable and swimming "about an average pace." I'm finally finding some form and now I just need to build the strength.

Saturday 7/14/07 AM
11 Mile Run--Lake Austin Blvd, Scenic, 35th, Mt. Bonnell towards 2222 and back...see separate post.

Sunday 7/15/07 AM

Couples Sprint Triathlon

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Couples Triathlon: Team Barrett

(photo courtesy of Scott Wedge)


For Immediate Release

July 15, 2007

(Austin, Texas) The Austin Triathlon scene will never be the same with the arrival of Team Barrett. Led by superstuds Carrie and Shawn Barrett, this dyamic duo has flashed on the racing scene leaving other age groupers to wonder, "Who are these two and where did they come from?" Even others were heard saying, "I'm just going to go ahead and retire from the sport of triathlon now. These two are unstoppable."

Such was the case on the morning of Sunday, July 15th. The sun rose in Austin over the start of the 2007 Couples Triathlon. They were seen visiting with several of their wonderful friends--Kim, Tom, Michelle, Cindy, Scott and others. It was a picturesque start to the day. With their transition areas meticulously arranged, the Barretts made their way to the swim start to discuss strategy and tactics. Their secret? "Just get out of the hell out of water as fast as you can and don't panic." Not exactly the strategy of the pros, but it seemed to work for this couple. After their farewell kiss, it was off to the races and a sea of white swim caps. They weren't spotted together for another hour and 34 minutes after Shawn crossed the finish line with arms extended over the finish line tape held by Jill Gainer and her fiancee Dick Beardsley. Carrie, of course, was at the Finish Line awaiting his arrival.

It was a good race by both even though Carrie charged ahead after her usual middle of the pack swim performance. "It's as if I do it on purpose these days," she said. "I kinda like the chase on the bike and run." Apparently she must because after emerging 37th out 0f 75 on the swim, (20:36) she went to work on the rest of the race. Her bike performance was strong enough to place her 7th out of 75 with an overall pace of 18.9 mph (35:37). This was definitely a personal best for Carrie on this course. "I haven't done the Danskin Tri in a few years which has the same course. I remember HATING these hills. In fact, we named the last two hills 'the bitch' and 'the bastard.' Today, they were more like 'the pest' and 'the jerk.' They got on my nerves, but weren't nearly as bad as I remember."

Feeling good as she was dismounting the bike, Carrie did get a little flustered when she lost time in transition because she couldn't find her running shoes. All was well and she started on the run course with the intention of knocking down as many as she could. About 100 yards into the run, she realized that in her moment of panic, she forgot to put on her running belt with her number. "Oh well...I'm not turning around now. I've got my chip and that's good enough. I just started counting the number of women I could pass. There weren't mile markers on the run course so I couldn't take accurate splits. I had no idea how slow or fast I was running, but I was only passed by one guy the entire time and I passed 12 women and several dudes. I took that as a good sign." Always relieved to be on the run, Carrie took advantage and continued to gain time on her competitors. "I knew there were so many fast women ahead of me. Austin's finest and most elite triathletes were out in full force today. My only goal was not to embarrass myself or my husband. Afterall, we have a reputation to uphold." She finished strong up the big hill at the end and sprinted towards the finish. Her 5k run of 22:40 (7:19 pace) was good enough for 3rd place out of 75 women and judging by the official results, she can celebrate a Top 10 age group finish with an overall time of 1:22:50. Right now, she's at number 9, but there is a suspicious person by the name of "Eric Moon" in the #2 slot. If it's determined that "Eric Moon" is not a F30-34 age grouper, Carrie could move up to the #8 slot out of 75. Regardless, she is incredibly happy with the results of her race escpecially with such a competitive field of athletes.

Shawn's personal race went in a similar fashion after emerging from the warm waters in 36th place out of 49 in his age group. "I never felt like I had space at all. It's as if people were blocking me from winnning the swim leg," said Shawn. "After this, it's no more Mr. Nice Guy. Now I know how Lance feels when all of the other riders try to attack him on the mountains." It was indeed a crowded "couples" wave of over 200 men and women lobbying for position from the start. Who knew married couples could be so feisty? (FYI-Barrett tested negative for performance enhancing substances)
Barrett's bike time was a solid 17mph effort on a rolling course. "I was hoping to catch Carrie on the bike because I knew she had a lead coming off the swim. I didn't want to beat her necessarily. I just wanted to ride up beside her and tell her how much I love her." Unfortunately, Shawn was never able to catch his wife although he swears he caught a glimpse of her on the run course as he was finishing the bike. "I thought it was an angel," he said. "But, I think I was just getting a little dehydrated." His run through the fields was also a very consistent effort even as the heat was kicking in. He ran the 5k in 27:14 (8:47 pace) and his overall time was 1:34:15. We later learned that Shawn also forgot to attach his running race belt. Was the couple just trying to remain incognito?
"No way," they say. "We love seeing people out here and we love being seen!" After attempting to eat a slice of pizza and a Clif bar unsuccessfully, the couple visited and compared stories with friends Tom, Michelle, another Tom, Susan and others. All could be heard proclaiming the glory of triathlon racing.
While they both had good individual performances, the real score was learned later when official results were posted and the "Couples Rankings" were announced. With their cumulative ages totaling 75, the Barretts were in the Couples aged 60-79 category. They placed 12th out of 56 Teams in that Cumulative Age Group!! (Combined Time: 2:57:06)

The couple recently took a break from the DVD production of their wedding. "We just needed to take a breather," said Shawn. "I'm kinda sick of looking at Carrie in her white gown. I much prefer the spandex. I'm so glad we did this race together. It's our second race as husband and wife and we make the perfect team...even though she beat me again."

Undisclosed sources have unconfirmed reports that they may be seen at the Marble Falls Triathlon next week. The couple and their agent refused comment. The couple hasn't decided if they are going to donate their race earnings to charity or to their new iphone fund. Carrie also has her eyes set on a set of zipp 404 race wheels as well. They'll go great with her new Guru Crono bike that has been ordered.
Official Results:
Stay Tuned...

What Time Did You Start???

11 Mile Run

Thon, Amy and I started our long Saturday run a little earlier than usual. They both had other obligations later in the morning and I wanted to keep my run around 11 miles since I had a tri on Sunday morning. Therefore, Thon and Amy started at 5:30am and came by my house around 5:45am. From there, we started the same route that the rest of the Gazelles were running that morning…Lake Austin Blvd, Scenic, Mt. Bonnell, 2222 and back. At that point, we were ahead of the pack when Coach Bernard drove by with the water trucks. We didn’t get a “Wow—looking good” or “You guys are fast today!” Oh no…We got an exasperated, “What Time Did you start today??” as if it was that incomprehensible that we would be that far ahead of everyone else! We knew we would get passed by people eventually, but why did it have to be on Mt. Bonnell? As we were climbing, a couple of fast, sinewy, 100% lean runners came blasting by us. We knew where there was smoke, there was fire. The rest of the fast folks would be blowing by soon. We passed over Mt. Bonnell and down the other side, past Dry Creek and down another hill. We didn’t go all of the way to 2222 because I was only going 5.5 miles out before turning around. We should’ve just gone to the end because we were only about ½ mile from 2222 before my watch indicated that it was time to retreat.

As we were climbing the hills back towards Mt. Bonnell, the rest of the Gazelles were heading our way. It was fun seeing people as we were on our way back. It really had an “out and back” race feel to it even though we weren’t going fast at all. We got some “Hellos” “Heys” and even “Cheaters” as we were running the opposite direction! Cheaters?? Ouch! Of course it was all in good fun, but the three of us wanted to say, “We’re not cheating damn it. We just happen to have other obligations in life today! It’s not like we’re not running the same f*cking hills everyone else is. We just started a little earlier.” It only got better when we saw Gilbert at the top of Mt. Bonnell. Once again, we received the “What time did you guys start” disbelief. Alright…that’s it. Apparently, we’re just pathetic!

While we didn’t run fast, we did finish strong and I felt good and solid. Apparently, all of the other groups were running the same route. The streets of Austin were PACKED with runners yesterday morning. It’s hard to deny that there is a fitness fever in this town. Literally, hundreds of Gazelles and Rogue Runners were pounding up Scenic and Mt. Bonnell. It truly was an awesome sight to behold and the only thing missing were our race numbers and chips.

While I may not be a fast Gazelle (made obvious today by our coaches with their humorous comments), I’m a Gazelle nonetheless and definitely earned the massage I was receiving later that morning.

Oh yeah…While those may or may not be my abs (ha ha ha ), I made personal history today by doing a group run in just a jog bra for the first time ever. It took about 5 miles just to get over the fear of back fat and belly goo, but I did and by the time the run was over, I was wondering, “what took me so long??” Hell, now I’d run naked if I could!! Well…except for the chafing. Never mind. Jog bras rock

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Long Hard Look in the Mirror

What is going on with me? I’ve noticed a change in my personality. I’d like to think that it is subtle, but I fear that I’m wrong. I know I’m wrong. I’ve been noticing it for a while now and something happened this morning that really drew my attention to it. I’ve turned into a judgmental health/fitness snob and I don’t like it.

Case in point: We had a fire drill in our office building this morning at 9:15am. I was driving up having just finished eating a peach in my car and was craving my kashi/berry/yogurt medley that I make pretty much every morning. I had completed a pretty decent swim workout this morning and feeling good. They finally let us back in the building and as a result of our patience, there was Amy’s Ice Cream in the lobby for those that wanted a morning snack! I hopped on the elevator with a bunch of people who were now eating bowls of Mexican Vanilla ice cream at 9-freaking-30 in the morning. I literally shook my head and sighed out loud at the deplorable disgust that I felt for those people. And that’s when it hit me. I’m a bitch.

I’ve been over 40lbs heavier than I am now. I know what it’s like to feel powerless over food and fitness fatigue. I remember what it was like when I didn’t give a crap about diet or exercise. I would make fun of people who would work out every day. I remember distinctly telling myself, “I’ll start tomorrow” or “What’s another piece of pizza? They ate it, why can’t I?” Heck, when you’re 25 years old, you’re not thinking about training. You’re barely getting to bed at night. I remember when I joined Weight Watchers nine years ago when I first moved to Austin. I still have some of my weight loss booklets and can still recall the number of points for most foods (Margaritas are poison!) You’d think with the total recall, I would’ve succeeded in the W.W. cult. It certainly wasn’t the program’s fault. I would weigh-in on Wednesday at Noon while my friends drove around the block. Then, I’d completely skip the lecture portion in favor of heading to the nearest Mexican restaurant for some chips and queso. Nice, real nice. Nothing says health and fitness like a vat of cheese.

…and here I was passing judgment on these people this morning like some self-righteous health freak.

Losing weight and going from a size 14 to a “perfect” size 4 was unfathomable in my brain back then. It all seemed so complicated because it involved (or so I thought) giving up EVERYTHING that I loved…alcohol, sweets, etc. I just didn’t know how to get motivated and stay motivated. Of course, working in the media industry with concerts and happy hours every night didn’t help either.

And then, I changed thanks to Austin Fit Training Program who coached me to the Finish Line of my first full marathon in 2002. I had run two half marathons in Columbus before I moved here and remember distinctly finishing second to last in one of them. Even my parents had retreated to the warmth of their car heater while they patiently waited for me to reach the finish line. I wish I could remember what that time was, but it was pre-chip timing.

Even though I’ve been at it hard for five years now, I have always had empathy for those that struggle with their weight because I’m so intimately aware of the pain and frustration people feel. I know it goes so much deeper than just physical appearance. There are also so many emotional factors involved with being overweight. Not a day goes by STILL that I don’t look in the mirror and say “ick.” I swear.

When Shawn and I first started dating, we would argue a lot about this topic. He’s in the health profession and sees the devastating effects of morbid obesity every day. He understandably has a low tolerance. I told him that he was insensitive and didn’t get it. He told me I didn’t understand the implications. We were both right, but he took the clinical argument and I took the emotional one.

So why on earth have I become this way?

A few months ago, even a co-worker called me out. She said she felt like we didn’t have a good rapport and was there something she had done to piss me off. Man, that hit me because I fancy myself an easy, friendly person to be around. Hell, my blog is “tri to be funny” after all! I have a positive attitude and do my best to share that with others. After some soul-searching about her feelings, I realized what was happening. I do sometimes avoid her and cut our conversations short. Why? Because I perceive her to be a negative person and I try to avoid negativity at all costs. It’s kinda that whole “Debbie Downer” thing. I’m not unrealistic about life, but I choose to take a different approach. Instead of the fatalistic, “Bad things always happen to me” attitude, I try to approach life from, “Bad things happen, they totally suck, but that’s life. Now, move on.” I guess I have a low tolerance for the whole “Woe is me” attitude to living. Now, with that being said, I also haven’t had to face any horrific disasters either and I do get in total funks and bad moods (I am a woman after all). This person is not a bad person. In fact, my co-worker is amazing, self-less and hardworking. My attitude towards her has been unfair and it keeps coming back to this nagging, “I’m better than you” personality that I’ve somehow picked up along the fitness road.

I’m not even sure of my point in this entry. I’m truly blogging my feelings right now because I’m just a little upset with myself. I guess I just want people to experience the joy that I feel by living a complete life with health and fitness as a priority. It’s frustrating when I see the apathy in most people about pursuing their passions or happiness. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. There will always be excuses or reasons NOT to do something. I just look for the reasons to do it. In fact, living this way is so much easier. It just puts everything else in perspective. It’s like we’re already starting from the top of the mountain instead of the valley. I want these people that frustrate me to know that you can drop over 40lbs and go from a 12-min miler to a 7-min miler. You can go from 2nd to last place in a Half-Marathon to 1st place in your age group in just a couple of years. You can get to a point in life where ice cream for breakfast sounds disgusting and berries sound irresistible. You can wake up wanting to run, jump, ride and swim. That becomes the gauge for how your day will be.

Bottom Line: I need to become more accepting of people’s decisions on how they choose to live THEIR lives. Qualifying for Boston, lowering your PR, managing your daily protein to carb ratio and completing an Ironman are not the “be all end all” to everyone else in the world. I never thought they would be daily thoughts in my life, but here they are nonetheless!

Carrie—you’re not perfect. You’re far from it. You’re also not better than anyone else contrary to your own popular belief. Come down from your pretentious fitness soapbox and realize that there will always be someone skinnier, tougher and faster than you.

Bottom Line: just shut up and eat the damn ice cream.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Couples Triathlon

In my younger years, being part of a "couple" meant everything. It meant crimping my hair for the school dance and learning the lyrics to "When I See You Smile" by Bad English so that I could write them in a note and pass them to 'Mr. Right.' It meant wearing really bad perfume (Charlie anyone?) and lying to your friends about how far you really wanted to go with this guy. It meant doing and saying the right things at all times or risked being dumped publicly with a note, or worse, by his best friend. It meant laboring over what to wear to homecoming and prom dances. It meant bad taffeta dresses and cheesy corsages. It meant having my picture taken in an awkward pose with someone I thought I was going to marry at the ripe age of 15. It meant not getting home after curfew or risk being grounded. Further, it meant not letting my parents smell the alcohol on my breath that they already know there. It meant slow dancing, sloppy kisses and after-parties. Being in a couple in my younger years also meant having my heart broken for the first time...not broken...shattered.

Nowadays, being part of a "couple" is empowering. It's about strength, faith and support when you're leaning so far that you feel you might just tip over. It means hi-fives when you've done something cool and hugs when you can't do anymore. It means crying when you're at your wits end and when you think you might burst with joy. Sure, it involves dressing up in cheesy dresses and dancing to some cheesy music as well. But, that's part of the celebration.

This weekend, being part of a "couple" also means slapping on some goggles, airing up the tires and lacing up the running shoes. It means Body Glide and Gu. (mind enters gutter) It means public display of your age on the calf and tank sun tan lines. It means walking to the start line with my best friend and husband and kicking a little tri-ass as part of Team Barrett. It means a heart-pounding swim followed by breathless bike hills, followed by a rugged trail run.

In high school, being in a couple required you to act tough. Nowaways, being in a couple requires you to be tough. This Saturday, Team Barrett is taking on the "Couples Triathlon." I might not be wearing a corsage, but I'll definitely be wearing something on my wrist. My stop watch.

Besides, spandex is sexier than taffeta anyways.

Pace Run-Sorta?

AM Workout
10 Mile (...make that a 7 Mile Pace Run)

I knew from the beginning it was going to be a rough run with the Gazelles.
I showed up at Runtex at 5:45am for a 10 mile pace run. On the website, it said 5 miles warm up, 5 miles fast. I’ve always done these pace runs with a Marathon Goal in mind. Since I don’t really have a Marathon Time Goal at the moment, I was estimating somewhere between a 7:50-8:00 pace for the “fast part.” After a tough 16-miles on Saturday, followed by 42 miles on the bike on Sunday, another 1.5 mile jog off the bike and a 30min swim workout on Sunday evening, I knew it was going to be a challenge.

I showed up at Runtex literally as the group was heading out. All I really heard was Gilbert trying to “seed” people according to our Tempo Run pace. Tempo pace? Huh? Now I was confused. Of course, if I would’ve gotten my butt there a little early, I wouldn’t have been in such a state of mental disarray. Next thing I know, I’m off with Liliana, Shannon and Thon not really knowing what I was supposed to do that morning or what pace I was supposed to run for the “fast” part. All I know is that even the warmup felt fast. I’m usually pretty talkative during runs, but not even a peep was coming out of my mouth (except when I said "Good Morning" to Frank on Riverside at Mile 2). It was all being used to focus and just keep up with Shannon and Liliana who were conversing like they were having their afternoon tea break.
(according to my Garmin auto splits)
Mile 1 Warmup: 8:45
Mile 2 Warmup: 8:24
Mile 3 Warmup: 8:10

I finally felt rhythmic at Mile 3. I could’ve run at this pace for hours. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what the workout called for today. Was dripping sweat and incredibly thirsty by the time Mile 4 rolled around. No water for another mile. Thon stopped at the porta-potty for a pit stop and I just kept rolling along trying to catch a draft from the quick chicks in front.

Mile 4 Warmup: 8:14

Mile 5 seemed much harder. I was really fading physically and mentally. About ½ mile from I-35 the bridge, my Garmin beeped with the 5 mile split. 7:33 pace. Whoah…Seriously? No wonder.

Mile 5 Warmup: 7:33

Stopped for water and Accelerade under the bridge and I couldn’t get enough. It was clearly a sign that I didn’t rehydrate myself enough from Sunday’s “trick” workout day. The gang started to take off for the “fast” portion of the workout (I still wasn’t sure what that pace was supposed to be) and I was still downing some fluids.

Started running again, but was well behind my group. Self-defeated, tired and just plain grumpy, I pulled off at the Lamar Bridge and called it a day after 7 miles. I pretty much jogged the last mile and damn if it didn’t feel pleasant! As I was coming towards the 0 Mile Marker, I saw Liliana and another Gazelle doing strides. Looks as if they peeled off at 7 miles as well. It was probably planned, but it felt slightly reassuring anyways. I wasn't the only one. After having tummy issues, Thon stopped as well. Welcome back to training!

I did the whole "you suck" talk for a minute, but it didn’t take long to say, “It’s OK. You had a tough weekend. This is supposed to be a swim or recovery day anyways.”

Like a kid who is given a lollipop after falling down, I really felt much better after I stopped at Café Medici for some coffee and then headed to Deep Eddy for a soak in the cold water.

All was well again.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

42 Miles of Random Thoughts, by "Tri to be Funny"

Set out for a solitary ride this morning. It ended up being over 42 miles of random thoughts...I solved the world peace issue, fixed the national health care system and saved Britney's career. It's amazing what pops in your mind when you are just out on the roads.

- Why does 9mph seem so damn hard?
- I'm so glad I can start a ride directly from my house
-Maybe I should've a group ride today instead of heading out by myself.
-It's better that I'm alone because I'm afraid I couldn't keep up.
-Please God--no rain and no flats!
-Do I look fat in my spandex?
-I don't know if I look fat, but I feel fat.
-I hope that car sees me.
-Why is there always just one shoe on the side of the road?
-Is that a construction hat in the ditch? Oh God, I hope there isn't a body nearby.
-Getting on the Mopac frontage road is crazy!!
- When did SW Parkway turn so hilly?
-God, I hope that car sees me.
-Maybe I should change my course today. Otherwise, I'll end up riding over 50miles and I've got to get to IKEA by Noon.
-Priorities, Carrie
- I wish Shawn was here.
-These orange Motor Tabs aren't so bad.
-My "hoo hoo" is a little sore already and I'm only half way through the ride.
-Man, oh man, I can't wait to get my new Guru Crono!
-I hope I get some Zipp 404 racing wheels to go along with it.
-I really love triathlon.
-I really hate triathlon.
-How did I get so blessed?
-This freaking sucks! I should be at home watching "Meet the Press" right now like the rest of the world.
-God, I hope that car sees me.
-Don't worry about your speed today, Carrie. Just enjoy the miles.
-Why do I suck so bad at swimming?
-How can I learn to love swimming as much as I love running?
-If it wasn't for swimming, I'd be a pretty kick-ass triathlete.
- I'm getting the same bike as Desiree Ficker, except that she is bad ass and I'm not.
-The new ride MUST be easier than this!!
-The Live Earth shows were pretty cool yesterday, but it made me feel guilty for damn near everything.
-Look at all of this trash on the side of the road. How depressing. We live in freaking Austin, Texas people. Show some respect!
-God, I hope that car sees me.
-When you get home, google www.perezhilton .com. I must get the latest on Britney.
-Does anyone really give a shit about Eva Longoria's wedding?
-I guess I do since I check the gossip sites on a regular basis.
- The world is falling apart and I'm trying to find out if Nicole Richie is pregnant.

(after stopping for a water break and learning that our wedding announcement was in today's paper)

- I'm still on cloud 9!
-Hey, it looks pretty good.
-Unfortunately, I can't ride the next 20 miles with a paper in my jersey. I'll get a paper later.

-Man, that break felt good. My legs are finally waking up from the 16 mile run yesterday.
-Did I really freaking sign up for an Ironman?
-Holy crap
-I have to swim 2.4 miles
-Holy crap
-I have to ride 112 miles
-Holy crap
-I have to THEN run a damn marathon
-Holy crap
-Just keep riding, Carrie. Keep riding.

-I love riding on Bee Caves because I actually feel pretty safe
-except the climb out of One World Theater pisses me off
-Are there any flat roads in Austin?
-What am I going to have for lunch?
-Am I almost done yet?
-I hope that car sees me.
-Hopping back on 360-yay...my favorite part of the ride.
-Except that now I'm in a headwind.
-Why am I better mentally at running than I am at cycling?
-Maybe I should just stick to running.
-Probably not a good idea since my knees have been feeling crunchy.
-I guess I should do a run off the bike
-Will I have time since IKEA is calling my name?
-Guilt won't let me NOT run
-15 minutes should be enough
-Finally home--no flats and no rain--AWESOME
--Whoah, my legs are like boards
-just 10 laps around the track.
-I want to tell all of these people on the track that I just rode 42 miles and now I'm running.
-I have no idea how my life led me to this
-I am a triathlete.
-a triathlete in need of some crap from IKEA.
-Bring on the shower and a turkey sandwich.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

16 Miles with Ladera Norte

Today's long run was a doozy. While most Gazelles were backing their mileage down to 10-12 miles this week, Thon and I wanted to step it up to 15-16 miles, which would get us on track with the Fall Marathoners.

Not your typical long run people.

Earlier in the week, we were brainstorming various routes and "Map Man" suggested one that took us up north towards Far West and ended with a "big hill" before turning around and heading home. I didn't think much of it until it was too late today.

Exposition to Pecos
Pecos to 35th (God Bless the Dry Cleaner water)
35th to Balcones
Balcones up to the Mopac Frontage
Mopac to North Hills
North Hills to Far West
Far West to...
LADERA NORTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(and back home the exact same way)

As we were running through the neighborhood, I actually made the naive and ignorant comment, "I've never run Ladera Norte before." I should've read a little further into his sinister chuckle.

This run had a little bit of everthing today...Clouds, humidity, fog, pouring rain, sun and HILLS!
16 miles of hills to be exact.

Our average pace for the run was 9:21, which is actually respectable considering the route.
I will say this. Today, felt like an official start to Fall Racing training. The reward for the Ladera Norte climb was some of the most beautiful scenery. We were literally running amongst the fog, mist and clouds that surrounded us. It means "North Slope," but it felt more like "north of heaven."

I felt stronger on the hills than I have in quite a while. I don't know. I guess it felt like a bit of an ego boost to challenge myself on some of the toughest roads in town. Besides the obvious physical benefits, I can't underestimate the mental dexterity that is built with each step as well.
Next week, is my official start to Fall Triathlon training. Shawn and I are racing the Couples Sprint Tri next weekend, which should be a blast. I'm also looking ahead to the longer races this Fall--Olympic Distance Race in Aug, Half-Ironman in Oct and Tri 101 in Nov. It's going to be a long few months, but I'm ready.

Monday, July 02, 2007

There's a Subculture for Everything!!

Last week, a friend and I rented the documentary "WordPlay." It is about the amazing subculture of people who are obsessed with crossword puzzles, particularly the NY Times Puzzle. Did you know that there is an Annual National Crossword Puzzle Championship??? I certainly didn't. We laughed as we were watching the idiosyncrasies of these fanatics. They log their times daily with each puzzle, they spend hours mastering themes and combinations, they read the dictionary to learn new words, they strategize about how to cut seconds or milliseconds off of their solving times, they communicate with other puzzle-addicts, they get together each year for the big competion, they support each other and yet compete against each other. They are self-proclaimed nerds.

Of course, the irony was not lost on me. In fact, it hit me---like a ton of bricks. A ton of Triathlon Bricks, that is... I'm exactly the same as these people. I encourage others and yet compete against them, I study up on my sport to learn as much as I can about strength, endurance, nutrition, gear, etc. I practice and practice and practice...I record every millisecond of training to track my improvement.

I AM a Tri-Geek...Case in Point, here is a recap of previous days activities.

Friday, June 29th
45 minute Endurance Swim in the Pool. No speed…just steady swimming..2300m total
I did notice some serious form fatigue after about 30 minutes. My breathing and cardio was fine, but my arms were dragging.

Saturday, June 30th
13 mile run with Gazelles. Started and ended at Austin H.S. So glad we didn’t have to run on the trail for a change since some of it is currently under water. Hung with Thon for most of the morning and we just chugged along slow and steady. 8:53 overall running pace…Of course, it was muggy as heck. Should’ve stayed for stretching as I’ve definitely been feeling “crunchy” lately, but breakfast tacos were calling my name and the only "crunchy" I responded to was the chicken chalupa that I ate at Mi Madres with crew.

Sunday, July 1st
Had originally hoped to do 35-40miles on the Guru, but only got about 25 miles in due to a shortage of time. We started rolling a little later than I had hoped and we were having friends over for lunch. Our friend Genny was in town from Houston (by way of Portland) and she rode with us and smoked us!! Her move to Portland has certainly sparked her love of cycling and her speed and effort proved it. Awesome! While we cut the ride short, it was still more of a physical effort than I would’ve normallyput forth. I pushed it and loved it. We rode SW Pkway-71-Bee Caves—360—back to SW Parkway.

Monday, July 2nd
Barton Springs A.M.

Landed in Barton Springs for my long “open water” effort of the week. I completed 6 laps for a total of 2400 yards! While it wasn’t fast, it was a new distance record for me in B.S. Just think, I only have to work my way up to 10 laps of consistent swimming for the IM distance of approx. 2.4 miles. It felt a little strange because several Gazelles were finishing their Monday morning Firecracker run at Barton Springs while I was pulling up in my wetsuit. A huge part of me was wishing I had run with them, but I also know I have a different purpose for now.

My laps were pretty slow compared to usual—between 8:59—9:36 per lap. I know that the current is a bit of a factor since the floodgates are open and water is flowing pretty hard. Other than that, I’m not sure why my times were off from the usual 8:50-9:10 per lap.

Jack and Adams Corture P.M.

Apparently, Adam being gone didn't reflect a change in attendance last night at Core Class! In fact, there were a lot of new faces. I suspect several of the "newbies" were Rogue Runners because our new Coach Josh is also a Coach for this other training group in town (C'mon Gazelles--it's time for us to represent!). The class has always started around 5:45pm so I was shocked to see people doing bicycle kicks as I was pulling up at 5:40pm. So, he started a bit early. Damn...It was an interesting change of pace from the usual Adam-style of long repeats until you can't move any longer. This was a lot more "interval style" or quick sets followed by short bursts of running. We would do a set of abs-- 1:30 6"/1:30 scissor kicks/1:30 bicycles and then go run for 1min. Throughout the hour, we did sets of mountain climbers, plank, pull-ups (damn--they put in a pull up bar), step-ups and push-ups (1 min wide arms/1min regular/1min triangle). It was definitely a step-up in intensity from the first time he coached. It was challenging and yet doable. After core, I had a 7pm meeting at Mozarts on the lake so I dropped my car off at home and ran the 1.5 miles or so to the coffee shop. I was looking forward to running home, but it started raining and lightening. I wussed out and had Erine drop me off at home.

Tuesday, July 3rd

Gazelle Circuit Workout

So, today's Gazelle workout was a bit of a deja' vu from last night's core class. Light on running and heavy on strength training. I ran the 1.8 miles or so from home to the Austin High Track and then ran 2 more laps while I waited for the crew to arrive. The circuit goes something like this:

1 lap followed by:

10 sit ups/ab crunches

10 push ups

10 supermans

10 squats

10 step ups each leg

10 lunges each leg

10 plyometrc jumps

Medicine ball toss with partner

...and repeat.

Today, I got 4 sets of circuit in and actually tried to double up on the push ups and abs.

Afterward, Gilbert called us together for more torture including mountain climbers, hops, higher/open, ab work and finally--fast feet.

I ran the 1.8 miles home

Again--short distance day 4-5 miles total, but great core work.

Wednesday, July 4th

A.M. 8 mile RUN
Slept in until a whopping 7:15am and met Thon for an Independence Day Run...Not one to take it easy, we decided to climb up to Mt. Barker (the official highest point in Austin). We did so by way of Pecos, Edgemont and other streets that headed in the general "north" direction. It was great to see a bunch of people out and about on the streets taking advantage of their day off. We even got caught in the middle of the Tarrytown Parade as we headed back towards the house on Pecos. It was approx 8 miles of hills (neither of us wore any GPS equipment for a change). It just felt so great being able to run at a leisurely pace on a National holiday. No speed, no pressure, no rush to get to work...shouldn't every day be that relaxing?!!? ha ha As per usual, our long run was followed by a greasy breakfast at Angies--home of the best corn tortillas in the world.

P.M. 1 hour on Bike Trainer
It's hard not to be in a bit of a funk when the weather in Austin has been so crappy lately. It has rained so much, putting a huge damper on any 4th of July activities. I was invited to an afternoon "bbq," but bailed to make way for some alone time. I ran some errands and napped in the afternoon. At about 5pm, I really wanted to go for a short bike ride, but the weather was just too unpredictable. I put the bike on the trainer, popped in Season 2 of "The Office," and rode for about an hour. I did some interval work--1min spin up/1min recovery, plus some 1 leg pedaling and regular spinning. I kept it light and the cadence high. It felt good to work up another sweat after overindulging on breakfast.


Yep..that was the big announcement that I suppose is only “big” to those who have gone the Ironman Distance or someday long to go that far in a race. To all others, it’s just a simple “whoop tee do” or a “lah de dah.” It’s even confusing to most of my non-tri friends and family (yes, I actually have some of those!).

“Haven’t you already done an Ironman?” they ask.

ME: “No…well sorta…I’ve done a few Ironman 70.3 races before which is commonly known as a Half-Ironman. This one is the real deal. The Big One.”

“You mean you’re doing the big Hawaii Ironman???” They ask shockingly since it’s the only one they know.

ME: “No…not quite. That one is like the SUPERBOWL of Ironman. You typically have to qualify to race that one…kinda like the Boston Marathon.”

“So this is a Fake Ironman?”

Me: “Never Mind…”

I’m here to testify that Iroman Arizona 2008 is in no way shape or form a “fake” Ironman. It’s definitely the real deal and, at this moment, unconceivable in my mind. The distances and the event itself aren’t totally out of the realm of comprehension. I guess what I’m having a hard time grasping is that it is ME that will be doing it.

2.4 mile swim (ha!) + 112 Mile Bike (ouch!) + 26.2 Mile Run (doh!) = Ironman Carrie

I’ve always done things on my terms and within my limits and timelines. This is certainly no exception. I wanted to wait until the timing was absolutely right. I also wanted to make sure I was doing it for all of the right reasons—not just because it was the next thing to do or all of my "friends were doing it."

I can honestly say that this is the right time for me. I’m in a comfortable and incredibly supportive relationship, my job allows me the flexibility to train at various times, I’m about to order a new kick-ass tri bike that (unfortunately) I still have to pedal myself, but with less effort, my body is responding well to training, I’ve achieved my other life goal of running Boston, and the time of year is also perfect.

When I clicked the “submit” button on the entry form, I felt like the caller had just yelled “B12” and I had that one number open on my bingo card! You know that pent-up nervousness as you’re waiting for that one number to be called? The one that will have you shouting out loud? That "jumping out of your skin" feeling? That’s the excitement and nervousness I felt as I was signing up. Like I was about to win…Like I chose the winning ticket…Like I willed it to happen and it actually worked.

So, when the Announcer shouts out, "You Are An Ironman" as I'm crossing the finish line, I promise I will shout "BINGO" at the top of my lungs!!