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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Triathletes at Play

Caution: Objects in Photos Are Actually
Sweatier Than They Appear

Greyhound and Shawn before workout. Super-Stud Greyhound rode his bike to practice!
(hence the helmet on the indoor trainer. He didn't actually wear it during class--although that would've been pretty damn funny!)

Greyhound, Me and Shawn after our Indoor Cycling Sweat-fest.

Katy and Greyhound look relieved to be finished!

I only posted this because I knew she'd kill me :-)

We had a blast with TriGreyhound over the last two days during his "working" visit to Austin. (or should we say, "working out" visit) Three workouts and two meals together--ahhh---it's good to be able to do both without suffering too many consequences! He kept me on my toes and well fed.

If you haven't read his blog, do so...It's one of the best, hands down. (and the fact that I've linked to it several times in this post is also a huge hint!) It's people like him that make this sport so fulfilling-and exhausting!

Dude--I hope your retirement plans get you to the ATX as soon as possible!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Here We Go!

It's about this time of year that I start to wish I was one of those people that casually hit my indoor, cushy, air-conditioned gym for a little recumbent bike/book reading...or maybe that I decided that light yoga was for me instead of running and triathlons. Nope, I decided to pick a sport that requires outdoor racing in sometimes brutal conditions, which ideally should include a little outdoor training as well in equally brutal conditions. The wool blanket has descended upon Austin manifesting the almost permanent sweat glow that will be around until about November.
And because I have a Half-Ironman one month from today, I can no longer make excuses about recovery or vacations or whatever lame-o excuse I can muster about not wanting to be outdoors. 

Our Gazelle workout yesterday had us all questioning the sanity of Coach G. We did 10 x 500m repeats on the track. Yep--the lesser known workout of 500m. That's a 1 1/4 lap on the track. So just when you want to be done with the lap, you still have to find another gear for the final straight-away all Kentucky Derby style.  His reasoning behind the odd distance?? We're supposed to be having fun right now and not worrying about or comparing our times. Of course he knows that we all go home to our logs and try to evaluate whether or not we're getting faster or slower. Nope-today was more like recess because there was nothing to compare it to. My times (because of course I want to know) ranged from 2:07 (#1) to 1:53 (#10) (6:03-6:48 pace). Our "goal pace" was to hover around the 2:00min mark so I would give it an A++ for effort. 

You want to know what's funny about having a fitness-based blog as opposed to a knitting blog, American Idol blog or even an adoption blog?  Well, when you get the pleasure of meeting fellow bloggers, it's not like, "Hey, let's meet for a cup of coffee and talk about the Civil War that we both blog about and love so much." Oh no...when tri bloggers get together, it's all about sweating.  

This week I'm also having fun playing host to TriGreyhound while he hangs in Austin for some crazy important Lawyer Conferences doing whatever it is that lawyers do when they get together. In Greyhound's case, he trains like a savage since he's officially 3 weeks away from IMCdA. So, I'm showing him how we train all ATX-Style (which is my suburban white girl speak for Austin Style). We met this morning for a 7 mile run with some of my partners Skud, Richard and Running Hubby Mike. We started nice and slow, but ended up averaging about 9:18 for the run.   Tonight, Greyhound will join me at the T3 Indoor Cycling Class and then an open water swim tomorrow at Barton Springs. Let me tell you...that boy is ready for this race and he's keeping me on my toes!   I promise to get some pics tonight at cycling class. Opportunities like these are too good to pass up!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Home Sweet Home

"You came back!" were the words that my friend Michelle said to me at swim class this morning. I'm not sure if it was shock, disbelief, disappointment or happiness, but it was definitley good to see and hear some friendly familiar voices. (even if they were Coach Mo saying, "accelerate on the follow-through...a little faster on this 50, etc.)

The fantasy world has officially ended and Shawn and I are just in the middle of trying to figure out what day and time zone we're currently living in at the moment. Italy is seven hours ahead, so while we gained several hours on the return trip, it has taken our minds and bodies a few days to adjust. I took a nap Monday at 3pm because my body felt like it was 10pm (plus, it was 97 degrees in Austin and there wasn't much else to do while the laundry was being done).

There's so much to say about the trip and hundreds more photos I could share. Each illustrates a feeling, moment, monument or memory that will not be soon forgotten. Even with all of that, it's GREAT to be home. Dare I say I was actually looking forward to returning? Every location was absolutely breathtaking and places that dreams are made of...Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, Lake Como...it doesn't get more beautiful, scenic, historical or more decadent. However, two weeks is a long time to be "out of a routine" with the elevated stress levels of trying to figure out train schedules, learning to navigate roads in Florence, understanding the water taxis in Venice, ordering the right food so that a fish head doesn't stare at me when the plate is put in front of me, washing out clothes every couple of days, finding places to run, dealing with a culture who hasn't heard that "smoking kills," being the only ones in a restaurant at 8:15pm when we thought we were eating late and trying to communicate while not sounding like a total bafoon (which I'm afraid I accomplished on several occassions).

There's a lot I will take from this trip. The European lifestyle is so simple and enviable. Walking and biking to work are the primary modes of transporation. They may eat more starches, cheese, wine and cigarettes, but they are always moving! While we didn't run every day, we walked several miles easily. There's no emphasis on cars, homes, credit reports, etc. They literally live "in the moment" and work to live.This was humorously illustrated at our Tuscan villa when Guido said "goodbye" to us early since we would be leaving during his afternoon siesta--a nap he never misses. Hell, I get upset when I can't retrieve emails on my phone in a timely manner! At the same time, it made me grateful for what I/we do have in the states. It made me grateful for the choices we have and it made me grateful for "to go" cups! Seriously, Italians don't have to-go cups for their coffee. They walk into the coffee bars, drink their espressos or cappuchinos at the bar and then leave.

The last 1 1/2 months have been amazing. Hell, the last year has been over the top. In fact, we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary yesterday by ordering up some sushi in a post-nap, pre-bedtime haze. Our goal for the next month is to do the anti-pasta diet :-) No spaghetti, no gnocchi, no pizza! OK-I'm exaggerating, but I can't tell you how nice it was to hit the grocery yesterday and purchase veggies, fruit and some protein.

I think we're both ready for a semblance of routine for the next few weeks (until the next trip over July 4th). We missed some great races while we were gone including the Rookie Tri, Skeese Greets Women's Tri and my favorite Cap Tex Tri. We were gone for two weeks and missed three big races!! Congrats to everyone who raced and a HUGE shout out to my friend Richard for kicking butt in both the Rookie and the Cap Tex Tri. This is his first triathlon season and his enthisiasm has kept my fire going strong. It's lovely to see another convert who celebrates every race and gets excited about the next one.

As for me and the hubster, we've got a few races lined up ourselves over the next month including the Pflugerville Sprint Tri, Marble Falls Tri and the Buffalo Springs 70.3 Half-Ironman at the end of June. I can't say that I'll be "racing" it so to speak, but I'd be thrilled with a sub 5:45. Once again, that's an "if all goes well" scenario.

I can say that we hit the ground running as soon as we got home. Yesterday, we ran 12 sweaty miles at Town Lake in the drenching humidity. We literally came home and laid down on our concrete kitchen floor to cool off when we were done. Like I said, this morning I was up and at it at swim class and am actually looking forward to the indoor cycling class tonight.

Thanks for letting me deviate from the training schedules for the last few weeks. If you've never been to Italy, put it on the "must-do" list. It truly does transport you into a different realm of existance.

As much as we love to travel, eat, drink and see the world, there truly is no place like home (and our cat Brutus is also relieved that we didn't forget about him!) I slept with the equivalent of a mink coat last night :-)

Thanks for letting me share...I'm sure there will be more photos to come!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Images of Italy

Champagne on ice was left in our room in my birthday. Yep, that's the view from our balcony. 

Walking along the beach after watching some of the Giro d'Italia

Yep, it's leaning alright!

Along the Cinque Terre Trail. One of the towns we hiked through is behind us.

A lunch break in Sienna...pizza and pasta (but of course!)

Popping the cork of champagne!

Tour of Italy Continues!

The Roman Coloseum (I'm guessing that's obvious)

The view of Florence from the Top of the Dome...definitely a hill workout climbing the stairs.

Our token photo in front of Florence's Ponte Vecchio Bridge

How can you not love Italy? Bikes and wine holders!

So this is what they mean about aged parmesan cheese!

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes and emails. It's definitely indescribable both with words and photos. I'm typing this quick update from our hotel in Venice. A canal with several gondolas is directly below and the air is filled with people, music and a refreshing breeze.
It rained briefly last night upon our arrival from Tuscany, but today has been picture perfect. We spent the morning strolling through St. Mark's Square and walking up and down the "riverwalk." We' ve already plotted our run route tomorrow morning before the crowds emerge.

Our villa in Tuscany was out of this world and we met some fascinating folks from Australia, Hawaii and beyond who were also using La Locanda as their launch into "fantasy island." Martina and Guido take such great care of their guests with wonderful food, hospitality and directions to neighboring cities! 

We drove to the coast two days in a row: once to catch a glimpse of the Giro d'Italia (Italy's Tour de France) that was coincidentally coming through. The very next day, we drove back to the coast to hike the Cinque Terre-a luscious and somewhat challenging hike through five seaside villages.  

I feel like we've put together an amazing itinerary and, while I hate to see it end, it's almost too decadent to live like this for a long time. Case in point: we met Dean and Danielle who were on a 7 week honeymoon. We met them when they were on week five of their European excursion. Dean told us he had put on 18lbs and Danielle had put on 13lbs!  Believe me, it's easy to do in this carb-loving country!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Holy Christ!

Sweet Jesus!! No, seriously...I mean it!  This guy is everywhere!! You can't turn a corner without bumping into a basilica, church, altar, painting, sculpture or some other form of religious or historical significance in this country.

Having an AMAZING time. We've hit Rome and are currently getting ready to leave Florence for the hills of Tuscany for five days. Tomorrow, I will wake up on my 35th birthday (yikes!) in a Villa in the region of Chianti where the owners Guido and Martina will cook dinner for us for the next five days. I'm not kidding. Yes, this is what dreams are made of. 

The decadence of this country is overwhelming. I vascillate from being caught up in the luxury of chocolate, gelato, cappuchinos, pasta and a bottle of wine at every meal to being utterly disgusted by the self-gluttony I'm putting myself through.   I go to bed overwhelmingly full every night, but by lunchtime, I'm ready to do it all over again!

We've walked our tails into oblivion this week and have managed two runs. Rome isn't a running town (picture Manhattan without Central Park), but Florence is slightly more friendly once you get out of the main part of town (and start at 7am). We did about 10 miles this morning running past more churches, over the Ponte Vechhio bridge, statues and the Piazza di Michaelangelo.

So much to say and so much more to come...Just a sample of what we've seen---Sistine Chapel, St. Peters, The Pope!, The Forum, The Coloseum, The Pantheon, David, The Pieta..and my mind has gone numb.

So many more pictures soon...not sure that we'll have internet over the next several days!

I love this country!!!  Vespas, Smart Cars and bicycles everywhere! My kinda town....

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I'm So Animated!

I want my running to be like this!

But for now, I'll settle for this!

As usual, I got all geared up for our Gazelle 4-mile tempo run on Wednesday morning and Coach changed the workout on us! He turned it into a mini-bomb run of sorts. We ran a total of five miles. The first three were easy warm-up miles and then we "dropped the bomb" on the last two. My two mile effort came in at 13:50 (6:55 pace), so I certainly can't complain about that when it's still dark and we're running on an uneven trail. I came in right with the lead pack of two guys. If nothing else, it's a good benchmark for the next one. Amy and I then cooled down with an extra mile and did some bounding drills with the rest of the crew!

I was also able to walk to work again on Wednesday morning since I had left my car at work the night before having walked to meet my hubby for dinner downtown. I've got to say, it takes me almost an hour to walk to work, but it's soooo worth the peace of mind and serenity I gain. It's only a little over 3 miles, but I'm a slllloooowwww walker apparently. I felt like freakin' Snow White because I kept stopping to talk to the birds and the kitties and doggies I saw along the way. (By the way, if seven dwarfs start following me around, please call the police.)

Swim workout this morning was a killer! After our warm-up and drills, we kicked into some serious speed intervals. 16 x 25m on the :35. I came in consistently around :24-:25 seconds on each 25...not great, but hey--I'm getting there! After a 300m pull set, we then did 8 x 50m (the 4th was a rest). Again, I fell between :49-:53 sec on all of the above, but my form and breathing were definitely breaking down. Our final set was 16 x 25m with fins and I was at :19-:20 each time. This is how I felt knowing the swimmer behind me was on my tail-literally!

Not sure if I'll be able to post in Italy from the 10th-25th, but I'll try! We'll be storming the streets of Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and Lake Como...The only "tri" training will consist of eating, drinking and sightseeing. My boy and I will be going from this:

To this:

Which one of us is the lady and which one is the tramp??? Never mind. Don't answer that.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Calorie Carpe Diem

This is the crap I deal with at work on a daily basis!! For some reason, the banana just doesn't look as appealing as the blueberry/cream cheese danish and the pecan roll!
Does anyone outside of Mexico and Texas celebrate Cinco de Mayo? As I learned last night, it celebrates a long-ago battle when Mexico beat up on France. Not to be a hater, but who hasn't beat up on France at one time or another?? Cinco de Mayo is now primarily a holiday to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride by drinking a lot of margaritas.

It's also a holiday where Carrie obviously feels the need to celebrate with her neighboring country by drinking margaritas and eating like a gluttonous fat pig! We went to the most "unMexican" restaurant last night (Moonshine for the Austinites) and still managed to partake in some margarita action. The one thing I remember from my Weight Watchers days is that margaritas have like 5 points each and that shit adds up fast! So do the appetizers, entree and my share of the THREE desserts that the 7 of us ordered. Bread pudding, peanut butter pie and apple crisp aren't exactly endorsed by Valerie Bertinelli these days, ya know? Of course, at that moment, I didn't care! Woo Hoo--I'm going to Italy this week. I'm celebrating for the next three weeks! Live every day like it's your last!

Well, I definitely want to live every day like it's my last, but I don't want my last day on earth to be in a freaking sugar-induced diabetic coma! Needless to say, I got home last night and told my husband that I wasn't getting up early to go to swim or workout. And guess what?! I sure as heck didn't and now feel more crappy and lethargic as a result! I actually went on a 2-mile walk at lunch with some co-workers and that helped a smidge. I still hate when I fall off the wagon though and I seem to be dragging behind that thing in a big way right now. I haven't stepped on the scale since I was weighed at Ironman (that was fun) and I'm probably better for it. I can feel a difference already. Real or conceived, I feel heavy, sluggish, gooey and soft. (and not in a good way) I'm watching my belly pooch reemerge from the fortress I had built for it before the race.

I've discovered a major thing about myself. I respond well when a plan is devised and laid out for me step by step. I do well when I am "coached" and have some accountability in the plan. Therefore, when I return from Italy in June, I'm going to see a nutritionist to help outline some good meal plans for my activity level. I definitely know my weaknesses--sugar, sweets, wine and portion control. I'm not really a bread or salt girl, but I'll save room for a chocolate godiva lava cake anyday! I just want someone to help devise some meal plans and food lists I should and shouldn't eat because quite frankly, it can be confusing even for well-researched dummies like me. Is wheat bad? What about peanut butter consumption? Is it ok to have one glass of wine a night? I hear it's heart healthy, but it's also over 1,000 extra calories per week. That means I have to cut elsewhere. I've improved a ton over the years and most of my meals consist of plenty of fruits, veggies, grains and lean protein. It's those moments of temptation (social events, candy at work, etc.) that I fail 95% of the time. Seriously--95% of the time.

So...a couple more weeks of "Calorie Carpe Diem" and then it's time to hop back on that wagon for the 2 Half-Ironmans and 1 Marathon I've committed to between June and October! I just hope I'm not too slow to catch the wagon!

Monday, May 05, 2008

How Do You Say "Training" in Italian? Who cares!

Five days to Italy and I cannot wait! Of course, everyone knows how stressful it is to go on vacation too and this week will certainly test those limits. I want to leave work with my many projects at an acceptable stopping point so that the burden of guilt won't be too heavy when I leave. (although the second that plane hits the air on Saturday morning, I'm pretty sure all guilt will dissipate.) 

I had a great weekend of workouts, mixed with lots of relaxation and fabulous meals. I did my 2000m open water at Barton Springs on Friday morning. I felt a little "off," but it was still a decent swim overall. (43min) It was great to see Katy, JD and a couple of other T3'ers also out there braving the cold water.

On Saturday, Skud, Shawn and I met the Gazelles for our 14-mile Grove Run. Getting up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning wasn't fun, but watching the sun rise as we ran East over the lake made it so worth it. Plus, it was great getting to run with the Saturday morning Gazelle group again. It has certainly been a while and I think I was glowing from everyone's kind words, hugs and hi-fives throughout the morning. Just when I think I'm coming down from the Ironman high, I see someone who asks about the race and it just gets me so pumped up and giddy all over again. Thanks for indulging me and my ego :-)

It never felt like we were running that fast during the 2 hours. In fact, I felt a little sluggish, but we ended up averaging about 8:30s for the 14 miles overall. Shawn kicked butt as well and kept up with us until he diverted off the trail and ran home for a total of 13 miles!

On Sunday, I hit the T3 Morning Swim workout. Again, I felt really sloppy today and my stroke seemed off. I still did ok, but my stroke count was WAY TOO HIGH. Time to focus on that catch again... On Sunday afternoon, Shawn and I headed out for a tough 50 mile ride. We left from our house and rode up 360 to 183 and on our way back south, we hit Bee Caves and did that loop before heading back home. Hills, Hills, Hills.
Buffalo Springs 70.3 has some killer hills, so we're just getting in the practice. Again, I struggled, but still ended up averaging over 16mph in the hills and wind. It felt hard, but I still think my progress over the last year is incredibly evident. It might not feel like it at times, but I know it's there. 

Last night, we headed down to Canyon Lake to meet Shawn's parents for dinner at a very yummy Italian restaurant, capping off a wonderful weekend!!

I also finally committed to a Fall Marathon after waffling back and forth. This morning, I officially signed up for the incredibly popular Marine Corps Marathon in late October. It falls perfectly after my last triathlon and our trip to Kona to watch the Ironman World Championships in person!  I'll be like a kid a Disney World when we go to Kona.  If anyone doesn't want their slot, I'll take it!!