About Me

My photo
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, July 30, 2008

We're Not So Different After All

OK y'all-- it's starting to border on abuse (I say with a smirk)

Monday: 10 Mile Pace Run and Corture Class at Jack and Adams

Tuesday: Swim Class AM and T3 Spin Class from hell in the evening with Coach Pain

Wednesday: Gazelle Run which was a 7-mile Fartlek style run (we warmed up for 20 minutes, then went 3min hard, 1 min easy, 2 min hard, 1 min easy, 1 min hard and 1 min easy x3 rounds!) I'll say this...that seven miles flew by quickly. Coach decided to surprise us on the trail and join for the last couple of repeats making us sing his wonderful Burundian chants. Yeah-the only problem with that is we were wiped out from the actual running portion of the day so it sounded more like perverted heavy breathing than actual chanting.

I hit J&A Corture again on Wednesday night and drug my co-worker Matt and hubster along for the abuse. It's so much easier to go with others because we can at least spend the last 30 minutes talking about where we want to go for dinner. In our case, we hit sushi afterward! (and ice cream)

Thursday AM: This morning, I met Gazelle Rachel for a 7-mile recovery run, which apparently wasn't much of a recovery since we were both a little winded and beat afterwards. We ended up averaging about 9:05s, which is a little brisk for this type of run. I guess the conversation was just that juicy!! (I always learn interesting things from Rachel) :-)

Tonight, my plan is to do a land swim workout with pull-cords and the Swimervals DVD because I have to meet Amy at the ass-crack of dawn to do my 18-mile long run tomorrow at 5:30am. She's out of town this weekend and doesn't like to do her long runs alone. I'm a sucker so we're a good pair. Actually, it works out perfectly and allows me to do my long bike ride on Saturday morning. I'm still up in the air as to whether I want to ride with T3 or head out for my first spin on the new Longhorn 70.3 course (modified slightly from last year). I'm thinking it's time to see the course again!

We're heading to San Antonio Saturday afternoon to visit the in-laws and get caught up on Shawn's Dad's arm rehab from his bike crash several weeks ago. He didn't have to have surgery, but the rehab has been pretty extensive. I'm guessing I can't convince him to go for a spin even though he'd probably like nothing more than to be on his Serotta again.

So yeah, I'm thinking we're all a little like the cracked-out Amy Winehouse. Don't you bitch and moan sometimes about having to train only to feel so freaking good and euphoric when you're done? Don't you get grumpy and irritated when you miss a session or can't get your fix? Don't you reach a certain tolerance level that makes you want to go higher, farther and faster?

I thought so...

"They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said No, No No"

I Can't Believe This Is Happening in Austin

Update on below: This task force won't know what hit them in the next few weeks. Every fitness group in town is rallying big time!! Don't try to mess with a bunch of type-A anal retentive fit people. Or to quote a wonderful line from the cinematic genius that was "The Breakfast Club,":

"Don't Mess with the Bull. You'll get the Horns."

If you're an athlete of any sort in Austin, you must participate and let your voices be heard to Austin City Council. As a former Event Director and frequent staff member of several events, I can say that the last few years have been brutal when dealing with the City with regard to putting on races. I received this email from the President of Conley Sports, which is an Event Production company in Austin. They need our support in this endeavor!

Even if you don't live here, please stay involved in your local politics to shut down races. It's amazing that something like this can happen to one of the "fittest" cities in the U.S.


Hello friends!

Apologies for this very long note. This is the best summary I can come up with.

As some of you may know, I am on a City Council Task Force that has been charged with finding some remedies to the disruption to downtown traffic caused by special events. The Task Force consists of 16 citizens who represent various stakeholders in the issue.

So here’s the situation:

· Two-thirds of the task force represent ‘aggrieved parties’ who seek to limit and control running events and triathlons.
· I am the only race director on the task force. Paul Carrozza is a co-chair and he is obviously on the side of event promotion.
· Even though over 60% of the special events in the downtown central business district are street festivals or parades, not a single street festival or parade organizer is on the task force.
· It is no longer possible to add new members to the task force.
· The task force will likely take a hard stance on downtown running events but any recommendations adopted by the city council may also be applied city-wide.
· The rich and varied running events that have defined Austin as a ‘fit-city’, generated millions, upon millions of dollars for the local economy and the local non-profit community are at high risk of being over-regulated and in some cases priced out of existence in the next six to twelve months.
· A part of the cultural fabric of our city is in jeopardy.

Here’s the challenge

· If we don’t advocate for our running events, then nobody else will.
· A city council member once remarked to me, that after a race, she only hears from people who are angry and inconvenienced. She never hears from people thanking the city or complimenting a race or the charity that benefitted from the race.
· If this task force rolls with the two-third majority bias, running events in Austin will be regulated out of existence in some cases and will be priced out of existence in other cases.
· If we can get 18,000 people out to run the Cap 10K or 22,000 people out to run the Komen Race for the Cure, then can we get 100 people to email City Council Members this week, to tell them that running events are important to this community and our non-profits? Can we get 100 people to come to the next Task Force Meeting and the one after that and the one after that one until we make our point that runners are not anonymous or invisible people. Can we get 10 people at each meeting to get on the citizens communication part of the agenda to tell the task force of how important running events are to them personally?

If we can make our voices heard, then perhaps we can re-establish the balance that is missing in the composition of the task force.

I think the task force is composed of some of the city’s best and brightest and every one of the aggrieved has a legitimate complaint and a solution needs to be generated that reflects a true compromise. We will get there, but so far, the only public energy that has been mustered is from the side that would like to see Austin running events go away.

The silence of the runners is deafening.

In the last three meetings, the only people speaking during the citizens communication part of the agenda are angry, aggrieved people.

No runners or race organizers have spoken. [However, Jann Girard from the Cap 10K and Brad Davidson from the Cap Tex Tri spoke eloquently as invited guests last night, but nobody from the gallery represented a race or a runner during the citizens communication].

I would like to ask you to contact 5 of your running buddies and ask them to attend one or more of our task force meetings. I would ask that they let the chairman know that they would like to address the task force for 3 minutes during the citizens communication period. 10 people are allowed to speak at this time. They can say anything they want and the task force will listen. They might want to give the task force three simple messages:

1. Running events benefit the city economy and its non-profits.
2. Running events help define Austin as a fit and desirable city
3. Running events contribute to the health and wellness of the entire community.

If they don’t wish to speak, their presence will still be noted by the task force.

The task force’s work will take months and won’t likely end this year. However, we need runners to take an interest in this process and make their voices heard.

We will also mount a similar strategy to address the City Council directly once the task force has finished its work.

The next Street Event Closure task Force Meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 11 at 5:00 p.m. in room 1029 at City Hall. Parking is validated.

The task force will meet on an every-other-Monday schedule, always at the same time. I will alert you to any changes.

Please let me know if you are willing to come and if you or others would like to be put on the citizens communication part of the agenda. Meetings usually last 2 hours but the citizens communication period is first on the agenda and is over in 15 to 20 minutes.

Thanks for your time!

Best regards,


John Conley
Race Director, Nike Human Race 10K- Austin
Race Director, The Austin Marathon & Half Marathon
P.O Box 684587
Austin, Texas 78768

Monday, July 28, 2008

She's Got Legs...She Knows How to Use Them

...and it has nothing to do with trying to seduce the members of ZZ Top. These little stubby legs look ridiculous when trying to catwalk in a short dress and high heels.

These legs were used, however, for Monday morning's Gazelle 10-Mile Pace Run. Talk about punishment...50 Mile ride on Saturday, 14 mile run on Sunday, swim on Sunday night and a 10 mile pace run on Monday at 6am.  Here's how it went:

The first two miles were at a slow warmup pace (19:52) and the final eight miles were supposed to average our marathon goal pace, which in my case is a 7:40.

Mile 1: 7:31 (oops, way too fast)
Mile 2: 7:52
Mile 3: 7:35
Mile 4: 7:34
Mile 5: 7:38
Mile 6: 7:42
Mile 7: 7:41
Mile 8: 7:28

Avg Pace: 7:37

It was a well-executed run minus the little "speed racer" start. Humidity was absolutely brutal today and water was at a premium. We stopped once at the five mile mark and one more time with two miles to go. By the last mile, I was starting to get the old goose-bump dehydration feeling. Thank goodness we were almost done. 

Hi-fives to my Gazelle teammates who finished with me including Skud, Craig and Steven. There's no room for negative talk in this bunch. We set out to average 7:40s and nailed it! And that's why I run with a group... I would've thrown in the towel if it wasn't for those footsteps of others around me.  So, thanks ZZ Top for reminding me how to use my legs!

Unfortunately, I also had to use my legs tonight at Jack and Adam's Corture Class! That was a fun-filled hour of plank, push ups, leg lifts and more ab exercises than anyone would ever want.  Actually, people pay personal trainers hundreds of dollars for workouts like this and the dudes at J&A offer it up for free. It's no wonder that 80-90 people will scorch themselves on pavement to be tortured for an hour...only in Austin. Gotta love it...

I've been making some decisions on upcoming races and will probably be on the sidelines as a volunteer for both Jack's Generic in August and the Austin Olympic Tri on September 1st (this one is still in the air. I have friends in town that weekend and don't think I'll be in any type of race mentality). Hear that Michelle?? I'm all yours for body marking, chip distribution, swim exit and anything else you may need!  I really want to focus on my training for both the Longhorn 70.3 and the Marine Corps Marathon. Plus, I'm signed up for the all-female "Sweet and Twisted Tri" on August 24th, which should be a hoot since about 30 T3 babes are also doing this one. I want to see a cat fight during a tri, JUST ONCE! :-) 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Austin Appreciation Weekend

I'd like to personally thank Little Miss Runner Pants for making me feel like a bad-ass...and making me appreciate Austin all over again with her posts of how wonderful this town truly is. I couldn't agree more as evidence over and over again this weekend.  

Saturday 7/26 -50 Mile Bike Ride
The plan called for 60 miles, but I put in a solid 50 at 17.9 mph average. I invited AJ along with us on the T3 journey to Kyle, Texas and back and she hung in there like a trooper. She insists that I'm fast, but it's all relative when I compare myself with most of the other cyclists out there! Not more than five miles into the ride, Hubster hit a huge bump and flatted. He showed us what a stud he is by changing his tube in less than 5 minutes. Still though, this put us behind pretty much every group and we were on our own. It turned out to be a great ride even when the cloud cover burned off and the sun came piercing down. Because it was an out-and-back course, we got to see the dozens of T3ers blazing a trail on their way back to town. It truly is inspiring makes me yearn to become a better cyclist!  With one mile to go before getting back to our cars, AJ flatted and we quickly got her tire changed. Both she and Shawn were stopping at 40 miles, so I just did one loop on S. Mopac so that Shawn didn't have to wait all day for me.

Sunday 7/27 - 14 Mile Run
My T3 Longhorn 70.3 planned called for a 12 mile run, but my October 26th Marine Corps Marathon called for a 14 mile run. Right now, I'm focusing more effort on running so Hubster and I headed out from our house at 7am towards the Lady Bird Trail for a 14 miler. T3 wasn't starting their run until 7:45am, but I wanted to get it done a little earlier. It was so wonderful and encouraging to see so many people out there this morning including so many T3 teammates like Logan, Nancy, Joe, Blythe, Erin, Tom, Michelle, Liz and more. Small conversations and shouts of encouragement mean so much to all of us!  I finished the run at my doorstep with 14 miles at an overall pace of 8:32.  Sweet...

I made coffee and hung out on my front deck to stretch and visit with little Tripod Kitty who has made himself at home on our deck table. Our neighbor across the street was out working in the yard and blaring some old-school Willie Nelson music. I thought to myself, "God I love this town."


Also on Friday, Shawn and I went to see Comedian Kathy Griffin of "My Life on the D-List" fame. She was totally raunchy, immoral and degrading and I loved every second of it. As the name of my blog implies, I LOVE comedy used to do stand-up in Austin. I was also in a sketch comedy troupe called Gag Reflex. (technically still in the cast) I live to attempt to make people laugh and got chills at the way this comedian was able to hold the attention of over 2,500 people with just a microphone and funny stories. My goal in life is to have a show like Ellen's. It may just be a simple little podcast with 10 listeners, but it will happen someday :-) I sorta dropped out of the comedy scene when I started doing more serious racing. It was a little difficult performing in a smoky club until 2am and then getting up at 6am for an 18 miler....Maybe again someday! She got me all geeked up about comedy again :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Flattered or Frightened?

"Those shorts are my age!" exclaimed four-year-old Patrick. "Those aren't for you Carrie. Those are my age! Can I have them?"

A couple of weeks ago, Shawn and I were the proud temporary guardians of our friend Susan's adorable son Patrick. (a.k.a. "cutest kid ever until I make one of my own") He was having a slumber party at Uncle Shawn and Aunt Carrie's house and he was excited. (and we were frightened)

Patrick proclaimed that he was in the mood for beans and rice (true Texan) so we headed over to ZoCalo for an early Friday night dinner. As fate would have it, about 10 T3 Teammates, including Coaches Pain and Mo, were ALSO having dinner at ZoCalo, so you can imagine the surprised look on their faces when the Barretts walked in with an unidentified pale child that could easily pass for their own. "We just told you we were going on vacation to Europe," we joked. We made our usual illegitimate child jokes...cuz those are always funny...and the group ended up leaving shortly after we sat down, probably still wondering if this kid was indeed ours.

In typical horrific parenting style, I began to bargain with Patrick to finish his food so that we wouldn't have to. "Hey Patrick, If you eat another cheese quesadilla, we'll get ice cream!" Clearly the only person that wanted ice cream was ME. Frankly I didn't care whether he ate his food or not, my ass was going to Amy's Ice Cream regardless. It just sounded better if I was bribing him into wanting it.

Lo and behold, we headed to Amy's and ran into Coaches Pain and Mo AGAIN who were also there indulging in a little extra caloric consumption! (FYI-Austin is a small town) They happened to have the new T3 Race Kits in their car so they gave me a pair of the new sweet Compression Tri-Shorts. I took them out of the bag and that's when Patrick exclaimed that they were "his age!" They weren't his size, but they were his age! He insisted on trying them on when we got home and got the biggest kick out of the built-in diaper inside. How do you explain to a four-year-old that the padding is there to protect your hoo-haa and not to capture pee if you have to go! Ummm...thank god he didn't test that one!

Needless to say, he felt so proud when we slapped a medal around his neck! He felt like a real athlete and really REALLY wanted to take them home with him. I don't know that he ever really understood that those tri shorts were supposed to fit Aunt Carrie. "But they're my age," he kept insisting.

Fast forward two weeks and I just got some race pics back from last week's Marble Falls Tri. I'll be damned if the little kid isn't right. He looks waayyyy better in those shorts than I do. But hey, I'm wearing shorts that a four-year-old can wear. I'm not sure if I should be flattered or frightened.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

800 Repeats and Becoming a Core Whore

This morning's Gazelle workout was 8 x 800m repeats at Austin High Track. Most of us have heard of the Yasso 800 Repeats, which state that you should run your 800s in your allotted marathon goal time. So, to reach my goal of a 3:20 marathon, I need to be doing each repeat around 3min 20 sec each, with 2 min rest in between.

My legs always seem to have some degree of fatigue these days. Ummm...duh...I raced Sunday, ran 7 miles Monday morning and did core Monday night, swam and did the T3 indoor cycling class on Tuesday and it's already Wednesday and time for a speed session.

Because Chatty Carrie was in full effect this morning, I completely missed my group's start on the first repeat. I was just gabbing away with Jan when I suddenly realized that my pace group was halfway around the track. So much for a warm-up lap!! Aside from a few weak moments on the 6th and 7th repeats, all felt strong and smooth. I'd say I was working on an 8.5 scale out of 10 (full on effort). I don't wear a HR monitor so I have no idea how truly close to death I was :-)

The coolest part of this workout is hearing the cheers, clapping and shouts of encouragement from the other Gazelle pace groups that are out there. We all might run different speeds, but we're all there for the same reason--to get faster and to cheer and support each other as teammates. I love it!!

#1 3:16
#2 3:17
#3 3:22
#4 3:18
#5 3:21
#6 3:15
#7 3:16
#8 3:06 (droppin' the bomb at a 6:12 pace!)

Right on target so far in mid-July!


Many of you have also heard me talk about Jack and Adam's "Corture" class for a long time now. Corture is not the official name for it. It's the name I gave to it...torture for the core. I'm just sayin'. Well, I think I'm turning into a Corture Pimp because I've recruited two new suckers--oops, I mean--athletes to join me tonight. First is new Austin transplant Little Miss Runner Pants. I'm going to go ahead and apologize to her in advance if she never wants to be friends with me after tonight. The other person I've recruited is my co-worker Matt. Dude has dropped about 45 lbs in the last three months!! Damn him!!! How do guys do it?!?!!? I've already laid bets that he'll be doing his first triathlon by next summer. I'm slowly but surely sucking the resistance out of him. Actually, it's been great to witness his energy and self-esteem since losing the weight. He's excited about going to the gym and doesn't eat chocolate bars for lunch anymore. He also no longer blatantly ignores me when I talk incessantly about my training and racing. Progress my friends...progress, I tell ya!!

Oh--on a completely non-tri note (sorta), we've had a kitty coming to visit us on our back deck lately. I think our cat Brutus has a crush because he'll just sit on the couch and look outside waiting for the little gray kitty to show up. We named the little kitty "Tri" because...well...duh. Actually, he's missing half of one of his paws so we named him "Tripod" or "Tri" for short. Are we awful or what?! Well, the last few days I've been opening the deck door and Tri walks right in the house like he owns the place. I caught him today putting on a show for Brutus. Brutus was not pleased as you can tell by his face. I think I shot this photo right before the big HISS!

Just had to share the pic! Happiness...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Which One of You Ladies has the Invisible Airplane??

A Typical 35-39 Year Old Female Triathlete

I've found the fountain of youth and apparently it's somewhere in the Female 35-39 age group! I don't know what these bitches are eating and drinking, but apparently it's working because they are unstoppable!

Y'all--it was the race of a lifetime for me that resulted in an almost 7:00min+ PR from last year...in a Sprint Distance Race!  You know how hard it is to find 7 extra minutes in a short course race? Pretty freaking hard, especially when you recall last year's effort as one of your strongest ever. I even reviewed my times last night from 2007 and thought, "Damn, that was pretty solid. If I can just match that this year, I'll be happy." 

Here's how it played out in a quick recap:

1000m Swim
2007: 21:31 (2:09/100 pace)
2008: 18:15 (1:50/100 pace)!!! I'm no longer last out of the water!!

2007: 1:36
2008: 1:27

23 mile Bike 
2007: 1:12:36 (19.0 mph avg)
2008: 1:10:16 (19.6 mph avg)

2007: 1:03
2008: :46

4.4 mile Run
2007: 32:08 (7:18 pace)
2008: 31:30 (7:10 pace)

2007: 2:08:55  (good enough for 2nd in my 30-34 age group last year)
2008: 2:02:15  (good enough for 5th in my 35-39 age group this year and 11th overall female!)

Cardio-wise I felt freaking awesome! Of course, I was huffing and puffing on some of the hills, but I was still passing people. I'm a little concerned about my legs as they are the things that seem to fatigue quickly on the bike when I'm pushing the heavy gears and the big chain ring. I've got to seek some explanation on why my large leg muscles (IT, quads and hamstrings) seem to fill up with lactic acid pretty quickly and render themselves useless. Am I not stretching enough? (who does?) Am I not recovering enough with enough protein? Am I not getting enough rest? (don't answer that...)  

That being said, I'm so freaking happy with my results this year even though I've clearly entered the Wonder Woman Age Group. Of the Top 10 overall females, 4 of them were in my new age group! You know what that means? Yours truly was 11th overall and 5th amongst the badasses.

Ladies in the 35-39 Age Group:  Don't you have somewhere else to be?? Don't you have to attend your kid's soccer games? Church? Bunko?  ANYTHING?? Do you ALL have to be out here on race day smokin' the field and making this youngin' in your age group suffer? Give me a couple of years ladies. I promise to provide you with a little more competitive action so that you don't get complacent.  Until then, I will idolize you.


The newbie 35-39 year old

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Race Weekend

One more race to go on my "four races in four weeks" adventure! It's official...My body is a little burnt from the efforts, but there's just so many fun events to do in this town and the Marble Falls Tri has been a favorite for the last three years.

Distances are a little odd: 1000m swim/24 mile bike/4.4. mile run

This is the first year I've noticed that their slogan is "The One with the Hills." Nice. Very Nice. That's comforting :-)

The week has been a toughie on many fronts, but the training segment has focused mostly on running.

I wrote about Monday's 10 mile Pace Run a couple of days ago. It went even better than expected.

On Tuesday, I went to AM Swim Practice and PM Core. I didn't go to PM Spin because of some serious leg fatigue. I'm listening to my body...sorta. I also knew I had another tough morning run workout coming up.

On Wednesday, I did a 4 mile tempo run in 27:57. VERY happy as a sub-28:00 is always my "happy place" for tempo! We did a 1 mile warmup, 4 mile tempo and then 1 mile cooldown. Ultimately, I went way out too fast and was barely hanging on at the end.

On Thursday, I did my 45 minute at-home swim workout with pull cords and my swimervals DVD and then I came home from work and did a 45 minute spinervals DVD on the trainer. For some reason, I wasn't in the mood for hard "coached" workouts. I needed an easy recovery day.
(Which is funny ironic since I was just on TV praising my coaches)

This morning (Friday), I got up and ran 16 miles with Amy. We had a decent run up Shoal Creek, across Far West and some Great Hills action before turning around heading back. We averaged 9:10 for the run which was just fine with me as we were both complaining about little aches and pains in our joints.

My plan for tomorrow is to REST (which is why I did my long run today) and then race on Sunday. Last year, I placed 2nd in my age group in 2:08. Last year, I wasn't as beat up as I am this year so we'll see how it goes! I believe I'm capable of 2:00-2:05, but that's on a damn good day!

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Best of luck to those racing Lake Placid, Vineman and all other community races. Treasure your abilities to compete and race with joy and passion!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Autographs, Please

On Monday, my running coach Gilbert asked if I would be a part of a TV interview with him on about coaching success stories. Our local CBS affiliate teamed up with local running store Runtex to produce weekly segments on health and fitness in a segment called "Austin Fit." So, with no real details about what I was to do or talk about, I showed up at Runtex Tuesday at Noon along with a few other Gazelles that Gilbert had hand-picked to be a part of this segment.

The story was on the importance of coaching and it focused on people who have overcome "obstacles" in their lives with the help of a coach. I felt so inadequate because I was amongst fellow runners who had survived major medical issues: morbid obesity, cancer, blood clots, colitis...I was just an overweight lazy person who was on the brink of becoming obese when I started running.

However, I'm honored that Gilbert pulled me aside and asked me to tell my story--as brief and insignificant as it is. He coaches from his heart and has taught me to live from my heart. I'm so glad I put my fears and low self esteem aside three years ago and decided to sign up for his training program. As I've said so many times before (and again on camera), I've been changed from the outside in thanks to fitness and exercise. When I moved to Austin ten years ago, I could barely run a mile and I was too intimidated to even walk into "the running store" for fear that they would laugh me right out of the building. Now, I'm doing TV stories with them. I guess it is a success story of sorts.

Check out the two TV segments below. The first story is about the importance of getting a coach and the second video is my little segment.

And now...I'm going to go meet with my agent about being on the Oprah and Ellen shows ;-)

Click HERE for story above about getting a coach

Click HERE for my story

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Split Ends

I can't do these splits to save my life!

(although the hubster would dig it)

I shouldn't do these splits

But check out THESE splits!

On Monday morning (yes, the day after I sprinted my butt off at the Couples Tri), I was scheduled to do a 10 mile Marathon Pace Run with Gazelles. I normally wouldn't put my body through two crazy workouts like that, but I'm bound and determined to have a good marathon this fall and that involves practice, practice, practice! The first 3 miles were simply a warm-up and we did them in 28:10 (9:23 per mile). The last seven miles should average out to be your marathon goal pace. Well...my marathon goal is a 3:20, which means my goal pace is 7:38-7:40 per mile. Yikes...that's pretty darn brisk for 26.2 miles. Hell, that's brisk for 1 mile on most days!! Fortunately, I had a pack to run with that eventually narrowed down to myself and Craig by the end. Thank goodness he was there because his footsteps provided a metronome for my mind.

As soon as we hit the 3 mile point, I started my watch to take mile splits on the next 7 miles:

Mile 1: 7:51

Mile 2: 7:44

Mile 3: 7:33

Mile 4: 7:35

Mile 5: 7:36

Mile 6: 7:23

Mile 7: 7:15

Avg Pace: 7:33 BABY!!

Not bad after a 36 mile ride on Friday, 14 mile run Saturday and Sprint triathlon on Sunday! But lemme tell you something...I'm wiped out and I'm racing again this Sunday at the Marble Falls Sprint Tri! Needless to say, I won't be doing much more of anything this week.
except for maybe practicing the splits...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Couple That Tris Together, Flies Together

Team Barrett celebrates after the Couples Sprint Triathlon!

Using a format that is unique in the sport of triathlon, teams of two, whether they be friends, spouses, or family members combine their ages and sign up in the appropriate category. Each person on the team does the entire triathlon, and then their times are combined for the overall results. One may also participate as an individual.

Combining our ages placed "Team Barrett" in the MARRIED AGE 70 AND UP category.  This is such a fun format because it gets you out of the typical 'age group' mentality and lets you start and compete in the race with your partner.

The big story of the day:  Shawn busting through with an 8:00min PR from last year for  a 1:28 finishing time!!!  At press time, TEAM BARRETT placed 6th in our "age group" and I was #1 out of 18 in my convoluted age group of W35-39 who were in the Married 70+ category with a 1:23:06 race! (confused yet?!)

The race itself was a blast from start to finish. Austin has such a wonderful triathlon community and race day is more of a party and celebration than anything else. Friends are everywhere...
Shawn and Richard before the race

Me with super-stud and Race Volunteer Coordinator Michelle

I'm flanked by two Category Winners, Monica and Katy! Monica (left) was our first ever running and triathlon coach back in 2001 when we trained for our first marathon and triathlon. She remains an inspiration to this day and is still out there winning hardware!

Beer is Flowing afterwards...

And T3 was out in full force! Our teammates swept one of the "Mixed" 
categories and stood proudly on the podium.

Shawn and I are both incredibly happy with our races. Word on the street is that the swim was longer than the reported 800m. People's usual times were off by 3-4 minutes. I was having what felt like a fantastic swim and totally expected to see 16-17 minutes when I looked at my watch. Needless to say, I was disappointed at first glance, but felt consoled afterward by people who had the same frustration. What the hell?! What can you do! We all swam the same course, so it's not like I got screwed or anything.

SWIM 800m
Carrie:  20:39
Shawn: 22:54

The bike ride consists of several rolling hills and a couple of steep climbs. I know this course like the back of my hand so I knew exactly what to expect. I was definitely feeling some leg fatigue on the climbs. No doubt, it's a combination of my long run the day before and just general fatigue I'm still feeling from the training and racing I've been doing this year. However, I was still pleased to see that I did about the same as last year.

BIKE  11.2 miles
Carrie: 35:48 
Shawn: 37:16

This 5k is all on grass so you have to be pretty conscious of every step. However, when your heart is beating out of your mouth, it's hard to be conscious and not throw up!  I screwed up my watch, so the first mile split was a bit of a mystery to me. I just knew I was passing a slew of people and that was good enough for me. I pushed it as hard as I could until the final hill that got the best of me. I was reduced to a shuffle to the top of the hill. Thankfully, it's also at that point that the Finish Line comes into view and the rest of the run is flat on pavement. I looked for another gear and got my ass across the Finish Line as quickly as I could...hearing plenty of T3 teammates cheering in the chute.

RUN 3.1 miles
Carrie: 22:56 (7:24 pace)
Shawn: 25:10 (8:07 pace)

I was hanging out for just a few minutes with some friends and just as I said, "I'm going to go wait for Shawn,"  I look up and he's standing right next to us with his signature post-race smile! He had such a great race that I didn't even have time to make it back to the fence to cheer him across the line! I was still waiting for my own heart rate to regulate!

Carrie: 1:23:06  (#1 in W35-39 Married 70+ group)
Shawn: 1:28:16 (#8 in M 40-44 Married 70+ group)

After the race, we headed over to T3 Scott's lakehouse for a little relaxation!

It was a great day to be a part of TEAM BARRETT

Friday, July 11, 2008

Training Right on Through!

I'm so excited for the "Couples Triathlon" this weekend and with temps expected over 100 degrees on Sunday, I know it will be a smokin' good time! Let's hope our finishing times are just hot!!
Because this is not an "A" race, we're expected to train on through this one like it's just another workout. That means that my training schedule was a little topsy-turvy and minimal, at best.
Tuesday, July 8th
Recovery Run 45 min in the morning and T3 Indoor Cycling in the evening.
Wednesday, July 9th
Gazelles--1000m Repeats on the track. This was a good start to the longer speedwork for the summer, but my goal is to be between 4:00-4:10 for each repeat in order to be within striking distance of my 3:20 marathon goal. I've been there before. While these were challenging, they weren't crazy difficult and after search my blog contents, I was doing these in the above range last year. Time to step it up a bit!
#1 4:37 (warm up)
#2 4:32
#3 4:22
#4 4:21
#5 4:14
#6 3:54
On Wednesday evening, I turned down not one, but two Happy Hour offers to go to Jack and Adam's "Corture" class with Richard. Yeah, I'm pretty sure if I wasn't committed to Richard that evening, I would've been sucking down the vino by 5:45pm. As it was, I'm SOOOO glad I stuck to my guns, remained disciplined and had a great hour-long core workout led by pro-triathlete Pat Evoe. Plus, I knew that Richard and I would meet our respective spouses after core for--you guessed it--drinks and dinner! We ended up meeting up with a couple of my coworkers and were made fun of for showing up at the restaurant in our workout gear. We were topped only by Shawn who had just run the 4 miles from our house and was dripping---POURING sweat. Yep, my coworkers think we're nuts!
Thursday, July 10th
I hit the T3 Morning Swim Workout and felt pretty good. I still struggle with how to get from 80% effort to 95% effort without actually wanting to die. My breathing just goes to hell in a handbasket when I try to increase power and speed. Consequently, I end up with the "windmill" stroke and my times don't get faster. With that said, here's the good news. I may be at a bit of a swimming plateau, but a plateau is a good thing because it means I'm so much better than I was a year ago. I'm just adjusting to this phase until I get stronger and faster. It's easy and encouraging to see that I know I can continue to improve.
Friday, July 11th
I got up at 6am and rode 36 miles down in South Austin in a combination of Circle C and South Mopac. The sunrise was beautiful and I averaged 17.7mph overall on this ride, which made me feel a little better about my performance in Lubbock. Afterwards, I hopped off and just did an abbreviated 10min jog of the bike because I had to get to work AND I've got a long run scheduled for tomorrow!
Saturday, July 12th
My long run plan for tomorrow is 15-16 miles of Scenic/Mt. Bonnell...not your average pre-race run. However, I'm just trying to stay focused on my running for the Fall marathon.
Sunday, July 13th
Last year I posted a 1:22:50 at this race which amounted to a 20min swim, 18.9mph avg on the bike and 7:19 pace on the run. Ideally, I'd like to improve each slightly, but we'll see what happens! The bike time will be tough to beat and the run has a long hill at the end that tends to suck the life out of everyone. If nothing else, it will be FUN and Team Barrett is going to kick some butt!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tri to Be Funny Public Service Announcement

yet another classic photo from Lubbock

In the midst of all of this racing and training, I made an appointment with a dermatologist a few weeks ago. While I went into her office for a little rash-action, I pointed out a couple of small little growths that I could feel, but not see, on the back of my neck. They felt like two new little moles forming, so needless to say I was a little concerned as my neck is exposed a lot from riding and running in the summer. 

She looked at them and immediately said they were nothing to be concerned about at all. In fact, she zapped them right off before I even had a chance to say, "Ouch that hurts, bitch!" Because I was there and already pretty much naked in my hospital gown, she decided to go ahead and give me the mole-check.  My brother had melanoma a few years back and fortunately they caught it early enough where no further treatment was necessary after surgery. He's been preaching the dermatology appointments ever since. My running partner Amy had a sister who wasn't so lucky last year. At 33 years old, she was diagnosed with melanoma in February and was gone by July.  It's something I've selfishly never worried about. I have that Italian skin that never seems to burn so I definitely fall into the "It could never happen to me" category.

As she scanned my body from top to bottom and front to rear, she commented that everything looked good except for one suspicious looking mole--ON MY ASS!! Seriously, this is the one place that the sun NEVER sees! How could this even be possible?! She just nonchalantly said, "I'm going to numb it up, cut it out and have it biopsied. It doesn't look horrible, but it may be pre-cancerous."  

What??  Biopsy and pre-cancer in the same sentence?  Lady, I just came here to get some ointment for my rash and now you're tasering my neck and cutting off a chunk of my ass. I'm calling a personal foul!

Well, she did just that. Before I knew it, she stuck a needle in my butt cheek and commenced to cutting another hole in my tush. (While you're at it, can you cut out this layer of fat on my belly?!) I'm a real-life butthole, I thought!  Because she was so nonchalant about it, I wasn't really worried and even joked about my "cancer butt."  (Thank God my initials are already C.B.)

About three days later, I had a message on my machine. The biopsy came back and was benign...No further treatment was necessary. I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief when I heard the message. Just to make sure, I hit the "save" button and listened to the message a couple more times. No Butt Cancer. Hip Hop Hooray...

My moral of the story, especially for us athlete-types who are constantly outdoors, is to use a ton of sunscreen. Yes, even on your ass apparently. 

Now, if I could just get rid of that damn skin rash...

Colorado Poster Child

We're back home and gearing up for this weekend's Couple's Sprint Triathlon, which should be a ton of fun. "Team Barrett" is locked, loaded and fresh from some serious altitude training. T3 has about 25 teams competing against each other for fun (and bragging rights) so the race will be a sea of blue jerseys. 

Colorado was, as usual, heaven on earth. In addition to the 10k race, we also rented mountain bikes, went white water rafting, swam a couple of times in our hotel's 25m lap pool, hiked and had great massages.  I swear in another life I was a mountain mama because I just love being out there.

Being back from vacation also means it's time to hunker down and get serious about my marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. Time to get some more miles on these feet again!  

In the meantime...
A Colorado Vacation Triathlon

We rode uphill for an hour and hit this beautiful summit at Sally Barber Mine. 
It was tough, but so worth the view from the top.

The scenery was too gorgeous not to stage your typical "yes, I'm a mountain biker" pose

I love mountains and I love biking, but apparently I'm not much of a mountain biker after all. I wrecked my bike standing still. I clipped in the right pedal and fell right over on a rock.

The next day, we went white water rafting. Both our concierge and tour guides warned us how high the water was this year. In fact, some hikers we ran into said that 6 people have already died this year from rafting. Needless to say, we were a little freaked out at first. However, we had a BLAST and the water wasn't bad at all! We hit some class 3 and class 4 rapids, but I giggled like a 12 year old at a Jonas Brothers concert!  The water, however, was a very frigid low-to-mid 40s so I would've taken an after shot, but was too freakin' cold!

On our way out of Breckenridge, we decided to take one last hour-long hike through the hills. We started at what seemed like an unimpressive trailhead under a ski lift. After twenty minutes or so, it opened p into this beautiful pond area. It was a great way to end the trip.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

It's Only a 10k, It Can't Be That Hard!


The race started at 9,600 feet...The first 5k was a full-on ascent with switchbacks, rocks and a single track trail.  We hadn't even left the park and I was huffing, puffing and sucking in the thin air.  Here's to trying to compete with the Colorado peeps who have more red blood cells in their body than this flatlander will ever be able to produce!  

The 2nd 5k was all downhill. It was wonderful that I could breathe and yet a miracle that I didn't take a tumble of epic proportions. We were flying down the trail and I was just hoping every second that my foot wouldn't catch a rock or a tree stump and send me flying down the mountain. Yes, the mountain.  

All in all, what a blast! (Shameless 4th of July pun intended) I ended up finishing in 1:00:40 and Shawn came buzzing in about 15 minutes later with a smile on his face as usual!  I only finished 12th in my age group, but was the first non-Colorado person :-) That's good enough for me!!

The backdrop for our race did not suck.

This is the single track trail that started and ended the race. Needless to say, we climbed up into the trees and came flying down like Bambi.

Here comes Shawn on the final descent!

Nice Strong Running Form!

In the Finisher's Chute

The dorky couple after the race

Thumb's Up to my new Zoot racing shoes. They aren't exactly made for trail running, but performed well on my first ever run in them! 

Later that morning, we watched the Breckenridge 4th of July Parade. It is kicked off by several hundred mountain bikers who are heading out on the Firecracker 50 mile mountain bike ride. Now, THAT's bad ass.

Now, this was your typical all-American parade with the Fire and Police Departments, families on bikes, politicians throwing candy and civil groups riding scooters. However, this was one "float" where I had to make my way to the front for a picture. It was basically a bunch of stoners dancing on the van to the theme song of the movie "Team America." This just happens to be the theme movie of my buds in Austin. If you've never seen the movie "Team America," you must...But, consider yourself warned. It's a piece of work!

I wonder what those children are thinking as the stoners are driving by with "America F&ck Yeah!" blasting out of the speakers?!?!?

Hope your 4th was spectacular! 

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado

We've landed in Breckenridge, Colorado for a weekend of some serious altitude training. Well, actually, it will probably be more like a weekend of wine and food, with some hikes and mountain biking thrown in for good measure and less guilt.

Oh yeah...We also signed up for the Breckenridge Firecracker 10K Trail Race tomorrow :-)  Leave it to us to scout out an organized race on "vacation." It should be an interesting time as neither one of us has done a lick of running since Buffalo Springs last weekend; not to mention the fact that we're at almost 10,000 ft with no acclimation yet.  I'm sure we'll have plenty of fun pics to share from this weekend's adventures.

Before I forget--If you're ever in Denver, you MUST eat at SNOOZE . This little diner was freaking fantastic and the owners and waitstaff were out of this world accommodating and welcoming. The owner paid for our parking meter and our waitress gave us free pancakes because we just had to try her favorite flavor. Oh yes--the pancakes. We went on a "pancake flight" that included:  sweet potato, pineapple upside down, reese's, chocolate and coconut and cherry cobler. I'm not kidding. We sampled them all...And that was on top of my breakfast burrito and Shawn's pulled pork piglet benedict.   Who's the piglet now?!

It was a great way to start our long weekend vacation (that and the two mimosas we drank, as well).

Have a great and safe 4th of July Holiday!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Buffalo Springs 70.3 Race Report

Wonder Twin Powers: Activate! Form of: Super-Fast Triathletes

I make fun of Lubbock only because this is a 70.3 mile course that can chew you up and spit you out if you show up ill-prepared. In fact, it's been three days and my body is still wondering why I put it through the ringer. When I first did this race in 2004 (my first Half-Ironman), I was told by so many people that if I could do Buffalo Springs, I could do a Full Ironman because of the hills, wind and heat that usually accompany this event. Of course, at that time, I had NO interest in ever doing an Ironman so the comparison was lost on me. I guess they just meant to say that it's really really hard.

We lucked out BIG TIME in one aspect. The temps were supposed to be cool—highs only in the mid 80s. However, there was a 60% chance of scattered showers for race day. Upon our drive to the site on race morning, lightening was illuminating the dark sky at 4:45am. The storms seemed to be off in the distance, but it obviously wasn’t stopping many athletes as we were greeted with bumper to bumper traffic into the single-entrance parking area. Fortunately, we arrived early enough to get a decent parking spot at the top of the hill (a hill we would soon become VERY familiar with).

I kept expecting the Race Announcer to say something—ANYTHING--about the weather. Even in transition, the chatter around my area revolved around the weather radar on TV that morning that apparently showed inevitable thunderstorms in the area. However, as the sun slowly began to rise, the lightening gave way to cloudy, windy and otherwise benign cool race conditions. I’m not sure why I was somehow wishing they would call the race. I found myself feeling a dull sense of dread about the event…just one of those…"Why am I doing this again?!” kind of feelings. It’s nothing new as I almost always feel that same sense of dread until I’m off the bike. The race started about 20 minutes late due to parking lot traffic jams, but otherwise got off to a smooth start.

The Swim

I never thought I would say this, but the swim was the most pleasant leg of this event. It’s a beach start (if you can call it that) and I’m so glad I got to watch the pros and other age groupers start before they started the entire wave of Women 44 and younger. Shawn was in the wave before me and we watched with anticipation as each wave above us took off in a mad dash. It was during this time that I met blogger Cindy for the first time who was incredibly excited about her first Half-Ironman. In fact, she's got a great race report and pics on her site as well. I love the fact that she took time to brush her hair in transition!! Classic! I also ran into James and Rafael from Austin whom I’ve known for years from Austin Fit. The start of the swim was an event unto itself because you started in a sprint and the water remained incredibly shallow until you turned a corner of the point where I assumed the actual swimming portion began. It was at least 20 good yards of running in ankle-deep water! “Hey! This could be good for me!” I thought… I kissed Shawn goodbye, wished him luck and lost him in a sea of green male caps. Then, it was my turn.

I lined up in the middle and when the air horn sounded, I began running in the water along with everyone else. When we turned the corner, people were still running. “Hello! We’re supposed to be swimming people! I’m not Jesus for crying out loud. I can’t keep this up for the next 1.2 miles!!” When the water finally went above our waists, the swimming commenced. As per usual, the first several hundred meters were brutal and sufferable. However, once we turned the first buoy, I was able to find some space and actually had several stretches of what kinda felt like actual swimming instead of a new “American Gladiators” event. I had no idea where I was in the pack, but there were white capped swimmers around me at all times, which was encouraging. Hell, I was keeping up with someone and that’s good enough for me. About half-way through the swim, I actually started passing dudes in the age group before me. Shawn and I had joked that I would probably pass him on the swim. At one point, I thought I did see him, but I wasn’t about to tap the guy on the shoulder or blow him a kiss to find out if it was indeed my husband.

As always, the swim seemed to take longer than I thought it should and I was actually getting warm in my wetsuit. I’m pretty sure the lake temperature averaged 77.9999999 degrees—barely making it a wetsuit legal swim. I can’t tell you the excitement I felt when I climbed out of the water and quickly glanced at my watch to see 35min and some change. That’s almost a 10 minute PR for me!! By the time I had my wetsuit stripped by a wonderful volunteer and crossed the timing mat it was over 36 minutes, but it felt like I had broken a world record.

The Bike

The bike course has eight challenging climbs, including one immediately upon leaving transition. You are barely clipped in and you have to start pushing the pedals. Thank goodness we knew this and had our bikes in an easy gear ready to go.

Smiling (or grimacing) as we pedal up that first hill out of transition!

So, at this point, I didn’t know where Shawn was, but I smugly assumed he was still in the water since I had just had the swim of my dreams (i.e. an average swim). Upon leaving the park on the bike, the head wind hit immediately. Uh oh…my legs weren’t moving. I was getting passed by men and women and doing very little of my own passing. This is going to suck.

This is a strange course because it’s either long steep hills or pancake flat stretches. That's it. However, the flats are worse than the hills when the wind is blowing in your face. My attitude was abnormally negative from the get-go. I just couldn’t find a rhythm in the wind and tried to convince myself that I didn’t care. (ha) When we made a right hand turn towards a huge descent and subsequent climb, the cross winds were blowing me off balance to the point where I had to get out of aero to stabilize myself. Of course, it also started raining, so now I was faced with a major downhill with crosswinds in the rain. I simply didn’t have a lot of confidence and I simply didn’t want to die so I pumped my brakes the entire way down, which only served to make the climb out of the canyon that much more difficult without momentum.

At about Mile 15 I saw Shawn…IN FRONT OF ME! Actually, he was coming down the other side of the hill when I was still climbing up it. He didn’t see me, which is a good thing because I was like, “Son of a Bee-Otch! How in the hell is he this far ahead of me?!” In fact, it took me FIVE more miles to catch him and when I did, the first thing I said was, “Did you have a 20 minute swim or something??” He was just as shocked to see me passing him for the first time 20 miles into the bike. To this second, we’re still trying to figure out logistically how it took me so long to catch up with him. He started 5 minutes before me, and had a 39 minute swim. I had a 36 minute swim and we were both in transition for about 2 minutes. That means that for 20 miles, he was no more than three minutes ahead of me and I couldn’t catch him! I’m convinced I was sucked into a Lubbock vortex, but I can’t prove anything. Or—maybe Shawn was just kicking some butt... Or maybe he slipped some of those anesthesia drugs in my water bottles….hmmmm…I’m calling it a conspiracy. Either way, it remains a major mystery.

The rest of the bike was more of the same. We were in and out of rain and wind the entire time. I rode like a Grandma on the hills and *thought* I was pushing it on the flats. I felt like Miss Gulch from "The Wizard of Oz."

I never saw a crash happen, but viewed the aftermath of many including people walking with road rash on their legs, waterbottles and hydration systems strewn across the road and an ambulance at the bottom of a descent with a beautiful Cervelo bike leaned up against it. Presumably the rider was INSIDE the ambulance at this point. I just didn’t want to risk any type of injury. During this point, I was barely hanging onto 15.5mph. pathetic...The last 12 miles were a different story. We FINALLY had the tailwind I so longed for on the way back to town and I rode it like a freight train hitting 25-26 mph with little effort. It was all I could do to get that damn speedometer up to 16.5 mph before I re-entered the park and lost my tailwind and gained the last two climbs of the day. I think I ended the ride with a dismal 16.3 overall average—which is slower than my Ironman ride at double the distance. All I know is that I was off the bike after a long epic 3hr 26min battle with Mother Nature. Originally, I thought she had won, but the fact that I didn’t quit or crash makes us at least even.

Check out the intensity! (and the rockin' headband!)

The Run

Let the Run Assault begin

Ahh...the run. We couldn't have asked for better running conditions (minus the squishy wet socks). The rain had stopped by this point, but it was still overcast. Those of you who know this course know what a blessing that is when you get out on Energy Lab Road with NO SHADE. I wanted to hover around 8:00 min miles for the run. Of course, my first few miles were in the 7:45-7:50 range. I knew I would need that extra time when I hit the three major hills that are on this course. I was amazed at how fast some of the women were. Many of these people started at the same time I did and they were on mile 10 of the run while I was on Mile 3. Un-freaking-believable freaks of nature, I tell ya! The first hill comes around Mile 3 (I'll call it the Jackass). I had no lift in my knees whatsoever. I got about half-way up the hill and had to walk. 10 seconds...that's all I was giving myself. I did the same thing on Hill #2 (I'll call it the Bastard) The out and back portion allowed me to settle in and establish a decent pace and make up for some seconds I lost on the hills. The good news of the day? I was feeling great on the run and didn't feel like I was pushing myself too hard. I definitely could've run faster on this stretch, but my goal was to hover around 8:00min miles and I was right there. Plus, this was only the half-way point of the run and I had another long hill to get up around Mile 10. I saw Shawn when I was around Mile 9 and he was close to Mile 4. He had a big smile and was running up the hill! Impressive!!!! At one point on the run, a guy from Austin I know from Gazelles told me I was running fast. I wanted to say, "If I was fast, I would be done by now!"

The last three miles are always a blur as my mind and body were simply trying to keep up with each other. Plus, is it me or do the last three miles always seem so much longer than the first three!?! I was amazed at how many people were just starting the run as I was finishing. It definitely made me feel grateful as I moved closer and closer to the Finish Line! At long last I crossed virtually spot-on with where I wanted to be for the run.


All in all, I can't be disappointed with my time of 5:53:57 even though I've already run through the litany of, "Could I have gone harder on the bike?" moments. Part of me feels like it was a meltdown, but I also knew that I didn't want to take unnecessary risks. I am proud of the strong swim, run and decent transition times. All in all, it was a well-executed race physically and nutritionally. Mentally, I was a little "off," but that's part of the game!!

I was able to get my bike loaded in the car and change clothes in time to watch Shawn coming across the Finish Line looking strong as hell! (yes, by this point, I had put some distance on him even though it took me 20 miles of the 70.3 to catch him!)

We Did It!!

Time to drive back to Austin! Who wants the first shift?!?

Hey Carrie--you can take your race number off now...It's over.