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, August 29, 2007

Rest Week..By Default

This is a picture of:
1.) Lindsay Lohan as a youngster with a really funky looking joint.
2.) Some little bratty kid with a kazoo.
3.) A visual depiction of how I'm feeling this week.
And the answer is #3!
My recovery week has turned into a rest week by default. Boy am I feeling poopy!! I woke up on Tuesday morning with an achy throat and still managed to hit my morning swim class. By Tuesday night, I was feverish and in bed by 9:00pm for a solid 11 hours of sleep! I've been drinking plenty of fluids, taking Zicam and resting in high hopes of still being able to kick butt at this weekend's races. It's definitely a clear signal that I needed the break even for a few days. At least I'll be fresh going into both the Fila Relays on Friday night and the Austin Olympic Triathlon on Monday.
Here's to a much-needed recovery week...I just wish it wasn't filled with so much snot!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fila Relays Set for Friday Night

I just finished reading “Duel in the Sun” by John Brant. It’s the dramatic story of the Famous 1982 Boston Marathon that essentially became a battle to the finish between two men: Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar. As a distance running fanatic, I was inspired by this eye-opening book about overcoming obstacles, perseverance and rising to challenges when you honestly feel like you have nothing left. Both men did this on the course that day and in the ensuing years that followed as they both battled their own “life marathons.” While parts of it were slightly overdramatic, it was the lessons within the pages that resounded with me…hard work, determination, honesty, passion, confidence and humility.

This Friday night at the Fila Relays, I have a feeling I’ll be experiencing all of the above as I gut out 2.5 miles as fast as I can as part of “Team America” -Thon, Shawn, myself and Amy. The Fila Relays are a relatively new event in Austin which has basically become a competition between various running groups in town. Teams of four all run a gut-wrenching 2.5 miles at 6:30pm in the August heat. Obviously, the teams with the fastest times win. I’ve not done this race before, but have heard that it’s a blast even amidst the heat and pain of sprinting 2.5 miles. This is like a tempo run on crack with beer and tacos at the end!! While there will definitely be an air of competition on the course, the prevailing feeling will be more of community and passion for the sport of running. I’ll be running as a Gazelle, but some of my T3 teammates will also be out there.

One of the coolest parts? We all get to run by the Dick Beardsley Foundation Waterstop and grab some hydration from one of the greats who I just read about in “Duel in the Sun.” How inspiring is that?! I know I’ll experience hard work, determination, honesty, passion and confidence as I mentioned above….Let’s just hope I don’t learn too much about humility in those 2.5 miles!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Skeese Greets Women's Sprint Triathlon

"Desire" (the bike name) made her official debut today at the 1st Annual Skeese Greets Women's Sprint Triathlon being held at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. I was excited when I signed up for this race over a month ago. It's a small, women's only tri capped at 300 athletes. It's certainly a far cry from the 3000+ women who take to the Danskin course every year. That race has gotten slightly out of hand and it's great to see a new handful of "Danskin Jr" races popping up that are introducing females to the sport of triathlon.

Honestly, I didn't have any high expectations for this race after the past week of training. Between Friday's long run/bike and Saturday's 71 mile bike ride, it was all I could do to muster the energy to get out of bed this morning and head to the site. Luckily, Shawn drove down while I ate my kashi and thanked God that it was only a Sprint distance course.


Oddly enough, this 500m swim was one of the hardest physical swims I've ever done, including co-ed races! There was a ton of thrashing and kicking and I'll admit, I was doing my fair share of both while attempting to stay with the pack. The water in the ski ranch was warm and I seemed to make my way around the pond a lot faster than I thought I would. You know how swims ALWAYS seem much longer with the buoys strewn out? Today was no exception. I know my form was horrific and my breathing was atrocious. It really did feel like more of a scrappy battle than a swim. I guess that's good because it meant I was somewhere in the middle of the action...a far cry from where I usually am.

I exited the water: 11:17 for the swim

certainly not great, but I'll take it. I definitely wasn't the last white cap out and that's all that mattered.

91st place out of 252 overall on swim


Now, it was time to give "Desire" her first race! T2 was disappointing because I couldn't find my helmet which was placed securely on my bike prior to the race. A volunteer was standing there and she said, "This rack fell earlier and several items went flying."

"Great," I thought. "My helmet is gone." After searching with the aid of the volunteer, we found it two towels down from mine.

The bike course was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. Let me say it a different way. My legs were SHOT this morning and I had to work every minute on this course. Every uphill seemed to seize my quads, so I would immediately have to either stand or drop it down to easier gears. Plus, the Race Director pointed out that they had recently chip-sealed about a mile of the course. He said that it wasn't loose gravel. What a load of crap! It was incredibly loose gravel and, even as a semi-experienced cyclist, I was nervous through that whole stretch. I thought for sure I'd flat out right there. Because it was a Sprint Distance, I had already made the call that I would DNF if I did get a flat tire. Thankfully, Desire was on it and kept forging ahead despite her Mother's stiff legs. The backside of the course was one rolling hill after another and I watched my overall pace go from about 19mph to about 18.5mph during this stretch. It's also where I proceeded to get passed by some serious bad-ass women who were smokin' in the age group behind me, including fellow Gazelle Julie Wittenberg. I had no idea where I was in the grand scheme of the race. I was passing lots of women on the bike, but I wasn't really paying attention to age groups today. Finally, we made the turn to the frontage of I-35 for the final stretch and I was able to pick it up again except for one nasty little hill with a mile or so to go. I pulled into T2 and saw Shawn immediately. The bike was AMAZING!! My legs were not doing well and I was a little unsure of the run.

Bike: 14.8 Miles in 46:08
Overall pace of 19.2 mph

18th place out of 252 overall on bike


The 3.1 Mile run course was an out and back with a couple of small climbs. I'm not usually a fan of out and back courses, but this would give me a chance to check out the leaders and see where I was in the overall race contention. It wasn't until about a mile into the run that I saw who I assumed to be the leader. I wasn't that far back!Imean, I knew I wasn't anywhere near the overall leader, but I had some confidence that I would place well in my age group. I immediately passed about 4 women on the run course and others were farther ahead. The sun had made it's arrival and it felt unbearably hot. At the turnaround, I passed another two women and started heading for home. Another Gazelle, Caroline, was not far behind me and she was turning on the afterburners. She finally caught and passed me with about 1/2 mile to go, but not before I caught 3 more women on the way back. The last 1/2 mile was a haze of exhaustion and pre-bonking and I knew I was fading. Thank Goodness it was only a sprint distance of 3.1 miles. I turned the corner and headed for the glorious finish line; of course, somewhere summoning the energy to pick it up for one last sprint across the line.

5k Run in 21:56
7:05 overall pace
9th place out of 252 overall in the run

My Finish Stats:
#2 in my age group
#13 overall out of 252 women

Again, I'm thrilled with the results after this 17 hour training week topped off with a 71 mile bike ride yesterday.

My swim continues to be my weakness. There's no reason I should be 91st overall on swim/18th on bike/9th on run. I know I'm doing the right thing with the training and it will kick in soon. I know it.

P.S. Yes, apparently the rack my bike was on did fall prior to the race and Desire received her first paint gash. I felt sick just looking at it and will see what I can do about it this week. You know what though? I was talking to some other women after the race as we were oogling over each other's bikes and we all agreed that these things are made to be ridden and used hard. It's going to get scratched. I just wish it wouldn't have happened so soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Emotional Roller Coaster On and Off the Bike

For some reason, I've had an overall sense of agitation over the last couple of days. These hormonal imbalances are usually reserved for my PMS week, but I can't even use that excuse legitimately. It just feels like many things around me are in a general state of disarray. Oddly, none of it is overwhelmingly negative, just plain annoying. It's just random things like work people getting on my nerves for no reason, the house still being disheveled as we wait for some wood floors to be finished, bills to be paid, work clients being slightly ridiculous, my training schedule hitting over 17 hours for the first time and being just plain tired and impatient. I've selfishly been going through that "Nobody understands what I'm going through" woe is me attitude since about Wednesday. Let me state loud and clear ON the record that I realize that this pity party has no place in my otherwise wonderful life. Things are going smashingly well in Carrie's world and that's why I've been agitated with myself for being, well, agitated. I do think most of it is the training this week. This is the first week I've ever ramped it up past 17 hours in one week, especially with a race at the end of it.

Why would I do that, you ask? Well...until 6:30am this morning it was to get ready for the "Tri 101 Race" in Houston. It's basically a 2/3 Ironman and my first real taste of "going long" beyond the Half-Ironman Distance. Well, I logged on line before my ride this morning only to read that the Tri 101 has been cancelled!! Sadly, at first I was doing the Happy dance knowing that it was taking a lot of pressure off my shoulders. However, as I started riding today with T3 and Katy, I did get disappointed as I really was looking forward to it. Sadly or humorously, my mind immediately went to, "What can I do instead?!" It remains to be seen...

The last few days have been pretty hard-core for me:

Thursday: 2000m swim in Barton Springs

Friday AM: 14-Mile Run with LauraLee, Thon and Amy...It ended up being a great run. We started slow as always and just progressively picked it up. Overall pace was 8:53. Our mile was a 7:25 pace. Now THAT's a strong finish for a tough run.

Friday PM: Left work at 3pm and headed to South Mopac Loop for 1:30 on the bike. I didn't even have my Garmin with me. I just did 3 of the 8-mile South Mopac loops as steadily and easily as I could. My legs were pretty stiff and tight from the morning's ride. "Desire" (the name for the Bike) is riding like a dream even though I have some saddle arrangements to make. It just feels good having a bike built for me!

Saturday AM: As I alluded to earlier, Katy and I took off with the T3 group this morning to ride 65 miles. A lead pack was pretty immediately out of our distance so we settled in by ourselves. The course was a doozy. Start at Jack and Adams and hit Mopac, Southwest Parkway, WM Cannon, Escarpment, South Mopac Loop x 2, back to Southwest Park and then proceed with the typical Dam Loop (71-620-2222-360 and home) If you know the roads, you know that there are plenty of climbs and starts and stops along the way. As the city of Austin has exploded (sad face), so have the amount of cars on these busy roads. We were riding with as much caution as we could. Unfortunately, we came upon a bike accident on 71, but learned thankfully that everyone was ok--just beat up. Luckily, it was a bike crash that didn't involve a car. Once again, "Desire" was riding great and my nutrition felt solid. I'm experimenting with Perpetuum and it was going down well. We hit 52 miles and began our ascent near Steiner Ranch and I'll be damned if I didn't get a flat--on the REAR tire. POOP, POOP, POOP--NOT ON THE NEW BIKE! I guess it was bound to happen sometime, but I was hoping that it wouldn't be so soon. The changing of this tire set us back almost a full hour because it took forever to get the tire off (new tires are incredibly tight) and then almost forever to get it back on. Both Katy and I are no strangers to changing tires. We've both done it a bunch, but this wheel was impossible. Fortunately, several riders going by asked if we were ok. God Bless the one guy we did ask to help us. He stopped and was sweating buckets! It took him about 10 minutes to get it back on and even he said it was the hardest tire he'd worked with. In a weird way, I was relieved to hear that. I didn't want to be the dork that called my husband to come pick me up because I couldn't change a flat. To this moment, I thank Katy for getting me through it. I was ready to quit, cry, throw the tire away and go home, but she was the voice of encouragement at a time when I needed it most. We got back on our bikes after calling/texting our respective loved ones letting them know we were now an hour behind and set off to finish this beast of a course in the heat of the day.

The rest of the ride was fortunately anticlimatic and we were both ready to shut it down at the end. Our 65-mile ride turned into 71 miles for a 16.1 mph average. Actually, based on the hills and lights, I'm very pleased with that average, especially since my mind cratered after the flat. We finished back at Jack and Adams and were greeted by the great staff there who had sold both of us our brand new bikes the week before. Both Katy and I were exhausted, but proud of our accomplishment on our fabulous new machines.

I'm resting up now and am racing in the Skeese Greets Women's Sprint Triathlon tomorrow! Thank Goodness it's a short one!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Always a Topper

It didn't take long to be humbled while I was driving to Runtex this morning at 5:35am feeling like a hard-core runner for being up so early.

#1 The O-Henry Track and adjacent street by my house were already packed with cars and runners who were warming up by moonlight. There must've been 15 cars lining the street and every bit that amount of people already on the track.

#2 Next Stop-The light at Lake Austin Blvd. by Runtex 5:39am. Again, this Runtex is normally deserted (well, always), but there was a gaggle of fit looking people standing around the entrance looking like they were waiting for instruction. While I was eating my Balance Bar heading to the Main Runtex, I thought to myself, "I'll give you some instruction. Go home and get some sleep!" And then I realized I was just projecting my own thoughts and feelings on those health-conscience freaks. I plowed on still feeling good about myself, but less unique in this town of overachievers.

#3 Gazelle Workout 5:45am -Elites, Beginners, Pro Athletes, Moms, Dads, kids...they are all represented in the various Gazelle groups that were meeting at Runtex this morning for their appointed workouts. I headed to the track where we did another unique ladder workout, which I'll recap at the bottom.

#4 Austin High Track- 6:00am No less than 3 different running groups were on the track this morning attempting to politely share the lanes. It's hard to be polite sometimes when you can barely see what or who is in front of you. I saw Carmen's Troncasso's athletes, Team in Training and, of course, our groups. Maybe I'm not so hard-core afterall.

#5 As we're running our workout, we humorously pointed out two triathlete females who had set up their trainers on the side of the track and were spinning fast and furiously in the aero position on their bikes. It was still too dark to be on the roads and they obviously needed some saddle time so, by God, they rode at least as long as we were out there if not more. Awesome!

#6 Corture Class tonight-I'm always amazed at how many people show up for this FREE workout session at 5:45pm twice a week. This is definitely one of those "going above and beyond" kinda workouts. Tonight was ironic in that our coach Pat had to leave and basically left us with instruction and we actually followed it set for set...Remember in high school when the sub teacher would show up and you would just goof off? This is how I know I'm old and committed. We actually conducted the workout with no coach and even when it started pouring down rain. Some left, but Shannon and I continued our partners ab workout under the downpour. Without her there, I totally would've bailed. She's also responsible for getting me to do 15 aided pull-ups at the end of class. Thanks Shannon!!

All of these observations confirmed that there's always a topper! Someone who will always go one step above.

Speaking of, here is a recap of the last couple of days:

Tuesday AM: T3 Swim class from 5:45am-7:15am followed by a bike ride from 7:30am-9:00am on the new Guru (still nameless although I love the suggestions!) The bike rode amazingly well and fits me superbly. Unfortunately, because of lack of proper morning nutrition, I was still starting to bonk a little at the end. It was a tough 22 miles leaving Lost Creek and heading up 360 to 183 and back. Lots of hills and rush hour traffic.

Wednesday AM: Gazelles Ladder Track Workout: 2000s, 1000s, and 400s on Track
Lined up with Frank, Anne, Amy, Rachel, Brian and others for this group effort. It was long and tough, but it was a good one! Despite my utter exhaustion, my running seems to be right on target and is definitely the confidence booster on most days.
2000: 8:52
1000s: 4:19, 4:17, 4:19, 4:15
400s: 1:34, 1:32, 1:31: 1:28

Even though I'm not officially training for a Fall Marathon, I still completed the workout in it's entirety to help build endurance and pain threshold. I know I'll need it.

So, yeah, there's always a topper. Someone who always has to go beyond. At least a lot of times it's me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rockin' Pace Run...and then a Nap

I don’t know how I pulled it out, but I had a great 10 mile pace run on Monday with the Gazelles. My legs were certainly beat from the 18 miler on Saturday and the long bike/run brick on Monday. My last 10 mile pace run was dismal as I cut it short to 7 miles, so I was going into Monday’s workout with a little doubt and trepidation. The goal of this run is to “let the run come to you,” as Coach says. Run the first two miles slow and then gradually pick up the pace and settle in for the long haul. That’s exactly what Thon, Amy and I did. I did have to stop for frequent water breaks as it was hot and humid as hell, but I was feeling mentally strong throughout even though I wasn’t necessarily at 100% physically.

Mile 1: 9:54
Mile 2: 9:11
Mile 3: 8:29
Mile 4: 8:17
Mile 5: 7:39
Mile 6: 7:34
Mile 7: 7:30
Mile 8: 7:31
Mile 9: 7:25
Mile 10: 7:32
Mile .14: 1:03

8:06 avg for the full 10 miles
7:43 avg pace for the 8 miles

On Monday evening, I had every intention of going to Corture Class, but was so freaking tired that I decided to lay down for a nap before class. Well, a 30 minute nap turned into 1 hour and I totally missed corture. I knew I needed the rest when I didn’t feel one bit guilty about missing class!

I’ve got a crazy couple of weeks ahead that includes a 17+ training week, the Skeese Greets Women’s Tri on Sunday, the Fila Relay Running Race on 8/31 and the Austin Olympic Tri on Monday, September 3rd. Thank God next week is a recovery week.

FYI—the bike rides like BUTTA!!

Monday, August 20, 2007


Help Me Name Her!!

Still to come: new pedals/shoes, rear hydration system, new matching helmet and racing wheels eventually.

Little Miss _________ will make her racing debut this Sunday, August 26th at the Skeese Greets Women's Sprint Tri.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Solid Weekend and My New Bundle of Joy has Arrived!!

Before I even recap this weekend's workouts, let me just say the THE BEAUTY THAT IS THE NEW GURU IS IN MY POSSESSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Photo and naming coming soon...

But first, a rundown of the weekend:

3000m swim in the pool for about 1:00hr. I wore fins the entire time to work on hip rotation and really focus on the lat muscles for the pull. Trying to build some muscle memory.

18 Mile Run with Thon and Amy. The humidity was a terror, but we all managed to finish strong and with some dignity. We started around 5:15a.m. so that we could meet Richard, Stephanie and the gang for breakfast tacos before they headed to the airport for Paris, France. Seriously...Can you believe that?? They are about to hop a plane for Paris and they wanted their last meal to be a breakfast taco at a greasy Mexican Restaurant on Austin's East Side. Gotta love it. I obviously do because my ass was out of bed extra early so that I could meet them!
Total running time was about 2:47 or so and our average pace for the run was 9:00ish. I didn't wear my Garmin so I don't know for sure. Because we ran off the trail, we had to stop at convenient stores along the way to stay hydrated. A bit of an inconvenience when some weren't actually open, but they have bathrooms so I forgive them.

56-Mile Ride with Katy. For the 2nd week in a row, we tackled the Longhorn Tri loop. Mentally, it's getting easier since I now know where the bad roads are, where the climbs are and where I can push it. I hope to feel totally prepared for this race on October 7th and cruise this course around 3:00hrs. It is truly a tough one and I recommend everyone getting out there and riding it before.

The main difference between last week and today was that we rode without stopping. Both of us carried enough water to just ride on through. Our overall time was 5 minutes slower this week for a 3:16 (16.7 mph avg), but we had a lot higher winds to fend off today and we didn't have the "breaks" we had the week before. Katy was starting to fade with about 8 miles left, but finished like a freaking trooper. It's all about hydration for her and she just needed more water. Overall, the time difference was negligible and I felt strong from start to finish. Katy was testing a QR Caliente masterpiece and was loving it!!! Let's just say she loved it so much that when I went to Jack and Adam's to pick up the new love of my life, she was running her credit card and taking home the new love of hers!!! I don't know what an average Sunday is for Jack and Adam's bike shop, but I know they totally BANKED on our purchases!

After the ride, I proceeded to embark on a 30 minute run of fthe bike. It was totally getting blistering hot, but my legs were feeling great. (Shocking after an 18 mile run the day before) I even took off my jersey and did the tri shorts/sports bra look. It's not a look I'm comfortable with, but didn't much care at that point.
I ended up running 3.27 miles for an avg pace of 9:12. Good solid training effort as I was actually picking up the speed throughout the run. I contemplated running longer, but played it smart for a change!

Can't wait to ride the new MACHINE!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Of course, it rains for the good stuff!

I had been looking forward to Thursday all week! I had purposely set it up as a one-workout day so that I could go out on Thursday night and see Kim Richey at Shady Grove and get my drink on for a while.

Had a good Thursday AM swim class with T3. My form actually felt good and more consistent than it had all week. It may have helped that I spent about 20 minutes the evening before watching Google Video of proper swim technique. It helps so much to see what is supposed to be happening. With both running and biking, you can always watch yourself and others to get tips and visuals of good form. Swimming is obviously more difficult since you can't always see others in the water and you certainly can't see yourself (thank god) unless you are being videotaped. I can't tell you how many times my coach has said, "Your arms are doing this," and I'm like, "Really?? It doesn't feel like it." Watching a few videos the evening before was definitely good visual training that I took to the pool with me on Thursday morning and tried to emulate. Slowly but surely, I worked it through the 2800m workout complete with our usual sets of drills, pulls, fins and speedwork. Of course, as we're finishing our workout in the outdoor pool, it started raining. Now that I was done with training for the day, it was time for some fun (and too many Mexican Martinis!) The rain stopped in the morning, but was looming all day. Would it hold off so that I could actually enjoy some live music??

I've been a fan of Kim Richey since 1995 when Mercury Records touted her as the next big country artist out of Nashville. I was working for a country radio station at the time and many times, record companies send their artists around the country for their obligatory "radio tour. " The artist brings their guitar, sets up in the conference room and plays for a bunch of dorky radio-types. It must be miserable for the artist to play in that type of fishbowl surrounding, but every now and then an artist will stick out from the rest. (This format is how I was introduced to the Dixie Chicks in 1997. While I thought they were fun and talented, I never thought they'd make it big because of their name. Shows you how much I know). Anyways, Kim was one of those artists that definitely stuck out from the "typical" country artist. It made sense at the time that they would promote her. She had written a myriad of #1 songs for other country artists and had sang back-up for a ton of artists as well (Trisha Yearwood, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, to name just a few). Long story short--it didn't work in mainstream country, but she's had quite the career with the AAA format since then...folksy, chick rock. There is none better.

Our local Adult-Alternative station 107.1 KGSR hosts a series of free outdoor concerts every Thursday night at Shady Grove. Well, as fate would have it, remnants of some tropical storms were blowing through and it did start pouring rain about 30 minutes before showtime. Several hundred faithful were still out there with umbrellas. Shawn and I were two of them. Kim did take the stage at 8:00pm and very humorously slapped on a swim cap and goggles for her first song. Of course, I tried to take a picture from my phone for the blog, but it didn't take for some reason. Wouldn't that have just been perfect??

She got about 45 minutes of music in before they finally called the show due to wind and weather conditions, but she did hang out for a while to say "hey" and chat with people. Yep, my hair is pretty drenched! Bummer that it was cut short, but it did feel good to be out among normal people having a grand time drinking martinis and eating BBQ chicken tacos. It certainly sets the tone for a big weekend of long runs and bike rides! It's all about having fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Silly Rabbit...Trix are For Triathletes

Two Workouts = Brick
Three Workouts = Trick


1000s at Zilker Park
Today was quite the crazy day and a good test of my new work/training schedule. It started with our Gazelle workout this morning. Thon came by the house and we did our 2.5 mile warmup from my house to Zilker starting at 5:45am. I'm so excited that Thon is ramping up again. His schedule has been crazy and he just realized today that he really hasn't worked out steadily with Gazelles in 5 months! Needless to say, today's workout was a nice swift kick in the shorts and I hope he is able to remain consistent. More than anything, I love having the company for workouts. Can you say, "accountability?"
It was a new variation today on the north side of Zilker park.
1x4000, 1x2000, 3-4x1000
From the get-go, Thonster said he was blowing it out on the first one. Sounding somewhat bitchy and condescending (I'm sure), I told him that I was opting for the more conservative approach today. My goal was to actually complete the entire workout feeling strong.
4000 = 17:14 (6:56 pace) I forgot to hit lap button so I'm going by memory on that one. Waiting on an email from Coach to tell me.
2000 = 8:10 (6:34 pace)
1000 = 4:06 (6:35 pace)
1000 = 4:03 (6:31 pace)
1000 = 4:00 (6:26)
Bingo... That was about 7.5 miles of speedwork today. That, combined with 5 miles of warm up/cool down put me at about 12.5 miles for the morning. My running game is on right now.
Next up: 1:30 bicycle ride at 4pm. I wanted to remain near downtown for my bike ride so that I could make it back in time for Corture class. So, I started my ride on Barton Springs Rd and actually found myself back on the north side of Zilker park on the exact same road I had run 11 hours earlier. This time, I was doing some short sprints of speed on my bike. After 15 minutes or so of riding back and forth, I headed out down the Mopac frontage and then north on 360 up to Bee Caves. It certainly wasn't a fast ride because it was nearing rush hour and I hit plenty of lights along the way. However, it was a good ride to work on starting/stopping, climbing and sprinting. My legs were definitely feeling toasted from the morning's run, but I wasn't miserable either...just conscious of some tightness and IT Band soreness.
I made it back just in time for Corture class at Jack and Adams. Pat Evoe led us through 45minutes of plank, abs, glutes, pull-ups, push-ups and other strength building exercises.
Hitting bed in just a few minutes. I'm definitely beat!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Swim/Run Brick Day

Swim/Run Brick

Hit T3 Swim class this morning at 5:45am for a brutal/slow 2800m workout. Like yesterday, my form felt haggard and sloppy. Coach insists my form is looking good (well...better than before). I continue to be clueless on the lack of speed. It's continually self-defeating, but I vow to keep going back for more because I will have a serious breakthrough. I know it. Half the battle is just getting over the fear and perceived humiliation of being the slowest one. No one is pointing in my lane going, "Look at the slow chick!" Good God, they are there for the same reason I am there...to get better, faster and stronger. I will say that my arms were pretty sore this morning. I'm guessing it is in part due to my swim Monday morning and core workout Monday night that involved more push ups than I want to recount.

Feeling the need to redeem myself, I followed the swim workout up with a 7 mile run around Town Lake. Nothing fancy...just slapped on the ipod, started from home and did the Congress Loop. I expected to see no one at that hour, but ended up running into Coaches Gilbert and Bernard (they are everywhere), Katy and my friend Tonya. Now I know who is out and about at 8am! I started slow and did a progressive pick up. Total average for the run was an 8:46 pace. Slower than race pace, but faster than a typical "recovery" run.

Some know, but my work schedule has recently changed and I've officially started part-time at my job and I'm trying to hover around 30 hours a week. Now I'm free to go in a little later in the morning on most days. Yes, a lot of that translates specifically into more training time. It also means more time for my wifey duties like grocery shopping, cooking and bill paying :-) My goal is to get most of my workouts done in the morning so that I can still be present and accounted for to Shawn each evening. I don't want him to be "widowed" this early in our marriage, especially since he's been so supportive of this whole Ironman thingy. God knows, this man deserves the world and all he got was little 'ol me. Of course, the schedule change looks good on paper, but we'll see how it all transgresses as time passes.

On tap for Wednesday...Gazelle AM running workout, 1 hour bike ride, core class

On Thursday, I'll hit T3 Swim class again and then we're going to Shady Grove after work to check out the sounds of the amazing Kim Richey....brilliant, brilliant, brilliant singer/songwriter. I...can't...wait.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm only Immortal for a Limited TIme

I was just a tad upset about this morning's disastrous swim at Barton Springs. My original goal was 5 laps (2000m). I got up late, wasn't motivated or excited AT ALL to get in the cold water and hatched every scenario I could think of to NOT swim before I finally told myself to shut up and suck it up. Seriously, I was standing in my kitchen with my wetsuit half on and a cup of coffee in my hand still convincing myself to go back to bed because I needed more rest. We didn't get to bed until 12:30am last night having driven back from San Antonio after the Rush concert. (By the way...that's another trick I play on myself. I actually put my wetsuit on BEFORE I leave the house so that I won't wuss out and skip the swim. I can only hope that I never get in a car accident and have to explain why I'm wearing neoprene rubber. )

Instead of a 7:30am start, I was now working on a 8:00am start. Already I was cutting it down to 4 laps. For whatever reason, it was as if I've never swam before. My form was sucking (I was overthinking it probably) and my times were way off from my usuals. Like :30 per lap. I was just getting more and more frustrated with myself and not settling in at all. "Screw It." I did 3 laps and called it a day. While I didn't do any more cardio for the day, I did hit core class tonight. Lots of good ab work and other strength conditioning, which I'm convinced 110% has made me a stronger runner and cyclist (but apparently NOT a swimmer).

Of course, I had to contemplate a million excuses for the piss-poor performance and it wasn't until I looked at last week's schedule that it all made sense. On a "recovery week," I somehow managed to pack over 16 hours of training. That included a long run on Friday and two long bike rides over the weekend, a couple of core workouts, two swim classes and even a tempo run thrown in for good measure, plus another run and bike. No wonder why I was tired this morning!? I definitely have to look at my schedule and ease off on some of the training. However, I also have Tri 101 looming and want to go in feeling totally prepared. It's a delicate balance, but triathletes tend to teeter on the overtraining side. Who am I kidding?? They freaking tip the scale all the way over to the over-training side.

I'm definitely not complaining, but it started to make sense. I'm really ramping it up and I was showing some fatigue.

Damn it. I'm human after all.

That's How I Roll

Mission: Spend enough time in the saddle this weekend in order to achieve the appropriate level of discomfort, soreness, mileage and-oh yeah-confidence that I’ll need for some upcoming races.

Mission Accomplished.

Friday, August 10th
Did my long run of 14 miles on Friday morning with Amy, Anne, Thon and Mike. It was a surprising large group of people for a 5:15am start time! It was incredibly dark as the moon was only a slither. It was tough to see even the most familiar of dips and holes in the trail. Our route was the Exposition/Enfield/LAB triangle, followed by the 10 mile loop. I personally had an incredibly slow start, but finally kicked it in. With 4 miles to go, Anne and I picked it up for a fast finish. By this point, the sun was up so we could at least see what we were doing. I finished with a progressively faster pace feeling stronger with each passing mile. It wasn’t until the last ½ mile going home to my house that I conceded my exhaustion. Overall pace was about an 8:45 for the run. That factors in some 9:20s at the beginning followed by some low 8:00s at the end. Great effort.

Saturday, August 11th
Sometimes you need a mentor and a little inspiration to kick you into gear. My friend Genny was that person for me this weekend. She was in town for the weekend from Portland with bicycle in tow. She’s an amazing cyclist and was exactly what I needed in order to build up my riding confidence. We decided to ride with the T3 group on Saturday morning which was a 40-50 mile out and back towards Dripping. I haven’t ridden with the group in a while and was slightly intimidated. Will I be last? What if I flat? Thank goodness Genny was up for riding with the group as well. We did much better than I feared. She and I remained in the middle of the pack and decided to keep it around 40 miles since we were going to ride 56 miles the following day. Mentally, I felt strong the entire time. Hydration was definitely the key this weekend as temps soared toward triple digits. Genny pushed me harder on some of the flats than I would’ve gone. It was exactly what I needed.

Sunday, August 12th
The three musketeers of myself, Genny and our friend Katy headed out to ride the Longhorn Tri Half-Ironman loop. I’ve ridden it once with some poor results. That’s the ride where both Shawn and I bonked and he ended up passing out with ½ mile to go. Both Katy and Genny are strong cyclists and I was a little nervous that I’d be holding them back. The good news was that none of us were in the mood to hammer it. It was just some much-needed time in the saddle Plus, Katy was test riding a fancy new Felt bike and wanted to really get a feel for it and I had the map so I had to navigate! The course is definitely challenging in many areas, but also really pretty on the back roads. Again, I felt strong from the start and kept myself hydrated and well nourished throughout. We ended up stopping 3 times to refuel and rest, which was necessary because of the triple digit temps. Replenishing the water supply was a must. We all had our respective moments of strength where we pulled each other through some rough moments. Overall, all three of us were having a great day and no one was left behind ever. Total riding time (not including rests) was about 3:11 for a 17.1mph average. VERY pleasing on this course. I know I could’ve shaved some time off in a race atmosphere. Katy and I will definitely ride it again in the near future and better simulate race conditions (i.e. not stopping to eat, riding straight through and picking up pace).

Cross Training:
The only cross training I did was play the freaking Nintendo Wii boxing, bowling and tennis at Mike’s on Saturday night. Apparently, I kick ass in boxing and bowling, but really suck in tennis!!

Went to Jack and Adam’s and it felt like it’s usual “class reunion” self. We ran into Jill, Stacey, Nancy from T3, Stacy Keese and others. Pretty typical for a Saturday morning. I think they need to sell breakfast tacos at Jack and Adams. Everyone would show up after their morning rides! Bike may be on it’s way this week! My fingers are crossed for sure!!

Also went and saw Rush last night in concert and watched Shawn relive his glory days! It was my wedding present to him and he loved it. Great show for a bunch of 57 year olds :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

I was tagged by my girl Siren:

Goofy crap about me that was also probably on my Match.com profile at one point:

Jobs I’ve Held
*Paper Route Girl
*Swimming Pool “Snack Shack” Employee
*Sales Person at Beauty Supply Store—my Mom was a hairdresser and got me the gig
*Marketing Assistant at Engineering Firm
*Marketing Director for several Radio Stations in Columbus and Austin
*On-Air Personality
*Race Director
*Account Executive for Radio Stations
*Copywriter and Account Manager for Ad Agency

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over
*The Cutting Edge
*When Harry Met Sally
*Whatever Sandra Bullock film they are playing on TNT or Lifetime that I end up watching for no reason

My Guilty Pleasures
*People Magazine and all other trashy mags
* Sergio (my family) Homeade Italian Food including ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs
*Listening to podcasts at work
*Cruising around town on our Vespa
*My new Bike (SOON!!!)
*Regular Massages
*KASHI Go Lean Crunch
*Breakfast Tacos every Saturday Morning
*Our Steam Shower
* Peanut Butter Balance Bars

Places I Have Lived (in order)
*Two Places in Columbus, Ohio
*Four Places in Austin, Texas (not counting the various moves I did last Fall while waiting for our house to be completed)

Shows I Enjoy (AKA What's on my DVR?)
I’m really not much of a TV person and always forget to DVR shows. BUT:
*The Today Show
*The Daily Show
*Various Countdown Shows on VH1 (Top 100 One Hit Wonders and the like...)
*E! True Hollywood Stories
*College Football—one more month!!

Places I Have Been on Vacation
Here are a some recent trips, mostly with Shawn:
*Sonoma and Napa Valley, CA (Vineman 70.3)
*Rosemary Beach, Florida
*Orange County and most of Pacific Coast Highway in CA (Carmel, Monterrey, LA)
*Crested Butte, CO
*Boulder and Estes Park, CO
*Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Florida
*Cozumel, Mexico
*Boston, Maine, New Hampshire (East Coast after the Boston Marathon)
*Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia (Eagleman 70.3)
*Chicago (Chicago Marathon)
*New York (NY Marathon)
*Clearwater, FL (Ironman 70.3 World Championships)
*Columbus, Ohio
*Phoenix/Tempe, AZ (College Football National Championship game)
*Bora Bora, French Polynesia
*Moorea, French Polynesia

Favorite Foods

*KASHI Go Lean Crunch
*Firebowl Café
*Anything that says, “chocolate molten lava”
*Breakfast tacos at MiMadres
*Wom Kim dessert at Hyde Park Grill
*Chilean Sea Bass
*Peanut Butter ANYTHING (but I hate peanuts…go figure)
* Christmas dinners of homeade ravioli and spaghetti

Websites I Visit Daily
*Way too many Tri Blogger sites
*Blogs of my friends
Lots of fluff...

Body Parts I Have Injured
Fortunately (knock on wood), I’ve never broken a bone or had an injury that required surgery, stitches or an overnight stay in a hospital. I’ve been blessed with good health and typical overuse injuries: crunchy knees (God Bless Glucosamine), IT Band, shin splints, sore muscles.

I still have a scar on my arm where I fell during a trail race. That’s just cool.

Awards You’ve Won
Oh man…this is hilarious. A few standouts:

*Winning “Best Personality” in my High School Senior Class (Isn’t that like the “Butt Ugly Award?”)
*Some ridiculous “Employee of the Month” awards that attempted to make me feel better about my paultry salary as a Radio Marketing Director
*7th Grade Spelling Bee that took me to the State Championship where I was promptly knocked out in the beginning round by some mensa card-carrying Indian kid.
*This isn’t an award, but I was cast as “Annie” my Senior Year in the play. It is definitely a hard knock life.
*Some Field Hockey Award where I was selected to play on the Regional team for a game.
*I was never Homecoming Queen, but my friend Lynn and I DROVE the convertible around the track that was carrying the queen!

On to more life-changing awards:
* #2 Overall in a 2003 All-Female Off Road Duathlon. The only person to beat me was a girl that I invited to race with me. Bitch!
* #6 Age 30-34 in 2006 Dallas Marathon
* See other recent hardware acquisitions on the right hand side bar under this year’s race schedule. It’s been a good year fo’ sho
*Getting to become Mrs. Barrett to the coolest dude in the world who makes me giggle and puts up with my crap. (and 5:00am alarm clocks)

Nicknames You’ve Been Called
*Big Mama, Bubba, My Fat Sister Lou Lou and other assorted "fat" names(going back to my youth. Ahh the crappiness of having four older brothers!)
*Carebear (who knew my childhood nickname would foreshadow my married name of Barrett?!?)
*Deb(my little obsession with Debbie Gibson)
*Sop (Coach Gilbert’s pronunciation of my last name)

I know there are more, but I’m drawing a blank!!

Zen and the Art of Swimming...Sorta...Maybe...Almost

I know I say this practically every time, but I feel like I made some progress in my swimming class this morning. Aside from the whole "getting out of bed at 5am thing," it really is an amazing way to wake up. A swim workout doesn't beat you up physically, unlike a track workout or a tempo run. Swimming is mentally exhausting, yet refreshing. I don't think anyone would say that running is refreshing in the middle of August. (all that being said, I still -heart- running so very much!)

In addition to going to my T3 classes, I'm actually spending a lot of time watching videos and reading articles on proper swim techniques. There are just so many aspects to a good stroke! I can now pinpoint my biggest stroke deficiency (of which there are many). I seem to wait too long during my glide and recovery before I begin the catch and pull phase of the stroke. So, by the time I start to pull, I've lost forward momentum and my body has already gone flat in the water. More than anything, it's timing.

Every now and then today during my workout, I actually felt what it was supposed to feel like. You know when you do something and you're not sure how you did it, but you know it was correct? I had several moments like that this morning where I actually felt like I was pulling myself through the water instead of breaking the water just to move ahead. Again, it's all so mental and subtle, but I'll take what I can get. My mind used to tell me that distance per stroke was achieved in the water during the gliding (recovery phase) and that's why I would stretch it out as long as possible. My mind has to completely turn that around and say, "Nope...that is not the distance phase...focus on the catch and pull. That is where the power and the distance per stroke comes from." It's embarrassing to admit all of this when there are so many good swimmers out there. And you'd think that after a few years of this that the light would've clicked on by now. It's also a weird shift going from a great running workout yesterday where I was leading the pack to being the slowest chick in the pool who finishes last every time. I just keep telling myself that I'm basically starting from scratch on proper technique...taking this sport apart and trying to put it back together. I was not a swimmer as a kid. I was chunky and I had enormous boobs! Hell, I was too humiliated to even get in a bathing suit. But, you know what??? I wasn't a runner either. It wasn't more than 2-3 years ago that I was bringing up the rear of most running workouts as well. If I can improve that much in running, I can do the same with swimming. I just have to continue to remain patient and diligent. Those that even know a little about me know that I'm very diligent. I have to work on that "patience" thingy.

The biggest shift I've noticed from last year to this year is my endurance level. The workouts don't scare me anymore (on most days). I used to look immediately at the total yardage--kinda like reading the last page of a book--and think, "2800m??? I can't swim that!!" Of course, that set the tone for the entire workout. Now, I don't focus on the total yardage. I break it down into the proper chunks: warm up, drill set, main speed section, drills and cool down. It's just like my Gazelle running workouts. We warm up, we do drills, we do the hard stuff and then we cool down. same-freakin-thing. Now the only part that intimidates me is the "speed section." (as it is designed to do). Even today, I was able to execute the descending speed ladders appropriately. One part of the workout involved doing 2 sets of 3 x 100s and lowering your time with each 100.
Set 1: 2:25, 2:18, 2;15
Set 2: 2:24, 2:20, 2:18

Again-it's almost embarrassing to post those times because they are so slow, but I did them correctly and that is all that matters to me! Oh and besides, I was actually the fastest one in the slow lane today! Ok-I was the ONLY one in the slow lane today, but like I said before, I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Tempo Set

It's time to begin the official race countdowns for my upcoming "biggies."

I'm 9 weeks out from the Lonestar Half-Ironman in Austin.
I'm 13 weeks out from the Tri 101 Race in the Woodlands, Texas.

Now that summer has officially arrived in Austin, it's time to ramp up the mileage and hours. I've been going to swim class and running, but I haven't really been keeping track of official hours, workouts, etc....until this week.

Today was the Benchmark Gazelle workout. It's the most anticipated workout and the most feared...the 4-mile Tempo run. I was in, but I couldn't get any of my regular running partners to join me. We did the workout differently today, which threw me off a bit. Instead of doing our usual two mile out and back route, we actually did the 7 mile loop: 3 miles warmup and then "drop the bomb" for the last 4 miles. I was a little agitated (it was my OCD kicking in)..."I've never done it this way..." "How can I compare to past efforts..." "Why the long warmup..." I even contemplated doing my own thing and just doing the usual tempo, but decided to just suck it up and run with the group.

The three mile warmup was a nice and easy 9:30ish overall pace. It was still dark afterall (not to mention hot and humid). I was up in the front pack with Rachel, Anne, Frank and Brian. After a water break and resetting of watches, it was time to kick in the tempo pace. I expected Frank and Ann to lead me, but from the get go, I was out front (and that never happens). The first mile passed quickly and I felt strong. The tempo run is more mental than physical. It's about holding on and digging deep. I put myself in "race mode" for the last three miles and pretended that I was in the run portion of a Sprint Triathlon. It really does help me battle the fatigue and searing pain in my lungs and legs that continued to build. By the final mile, I knew I was beginning to fade, but no one had passed me from behind. As usual, when I passed the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue, tried to pick it up or the final sprint. Damn, it hurt..Gilbert was there yelling, "Pick up your knees, quick steps." He could tell I had lengthened my stride for the final sprint. I hit the zero mile marker:

6:57 pace per mile
sweet...I broke the 28:00 barrier that has been plaguing me for a while.

It was hotter than usual and it was a new tempo route.
I'm definitely happy with the results and established a good starting point.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love...Colorado Style

It's no coincidence that I happened to be reading the book, "Eat, Pray, Love" before taking off on a short vacation to Colorado. For those that don't know, it's a book about a woman trying to pick up the pieces of her broken life and find happiness and pleasure by spending a year traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia. Of course, valuable life lessons are learned in each location.

While my circumstances couldn't be more different, I discovered that the same "life lessons" can be learned regardless of your current situation. It's about living in the moment, holding onto gratitude, finding God in everyday things, learning how to enjoy silence, basking in the pleasures of food, exploring nature, being romanced by your surroundings (and your spouse), praying on a rock and eating by a creek, feeling your heartbeat as you are running (jogging) up a mountain, gasping for breath while riding your bike next to the Colorado mountainside, ordering way too much food for dinner and finishing every bite.

So, this past weekend between Estes Park and Boulder, we had our share of eating, praying and loving. It's true that being at 9,000ft on a mountain does make you closer to heaven. We hiked in Rocky Mountain National forest, went running, and even explored the groovy town of Boulder on foot, mountain bike and road bike (with a nice 50 miler). Through all of it, we had plenty of wonderful food and drink along with way (way too much food on a couple of evenings). But, it was so worth it. It was a weekend of spiritual and physical bliss. Colorado does that to me. Wherever your heaven on earth is, always remember to "Eat, Pray, Love."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cross Training Rules

Does this count as Cross Training?? God, I hope so because I totally went Roller Skating last night with Shawn, Thon, Stephanie and Hava! It was "Adult Skate" night at Playland Skate Center and it totally did NOT disappoint! Any image that you currently have in your mind right now about the good ol' days of skating still holds true. Two Words: Xanadu, baby!

There were satin jackets, leg warmers, camaros, men and women who put their on-line gaming addiction on hold for a couple of hours, roller derby chicks and plenty of other people who still thought it was 1983 cruising along on the old-school quad skates. And then...there was us...geeks in our own right who show up thinking we were bad ass! It was a temporary leave of absence from our Gap, Old Navy and Target existence.

Let's face it, if you need an ego boost this is the place to be on a Tuesday night! (until the person you just laughed at flies by you skating backwards as you are stumbling over the damn toe stopper!)
So, while it wasn't an hour on the bike or a workout in the pool, it definitely worked up a sweat and worked some long unused muscles. And no....I didn't take my lap splits on the Garmin!

Heading out tomorrow for a weekend in the mountains of Estes Park, CO. Not sure what training awaits and you know what?? I DON'T CARE!!

Workout Update for the Week:

Monday 7/30AM
Gazelle Circuit Workout about 7 miles of running including the usual core work, 10 chinups
Monday 7/30 PM
Jack and Adams Core

Tuesday AM
T3 Swim Class-2700m usual drills followed by speed set

Wednesday AM
Gazelles Mile Repeats at Zilker

Felt unusually strong today and completed 5 repeats. It was a great gauge of my speed since I haven't really been focusing on that recently

Total milage including warm up and cool down: 10+ miles