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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Longhorn 70.3 Race Week!

A posted sign along the Longhorn 70.3 bike course
...Hope it's not an omen...

I gave the Longhorn 70.3 bike course a final "dress rehearsal" on Sunday morning. My bike and I have been having a bit of a long-distance relationship lately, but I figured I better find out if the old adage is true about never forgetting how to ride a bike...(it's probably more effective when I can actually remember the cliche' phrase, but you get the point)

So, I laced on the Zipp 404 race wheels, velcroed on the aero bottle and bento box, and packed up the Perpetuum for the ride. Surprisingly, not many were out there. There's this thing called "taper" and apparently no one has told me about it! There was one other car next to mine with the peverbial mandatory tri-sticker "How 'bout a Threesome?!" and a few other cars, but I was ready to ride by myself and suffer the demons of doing so.

I'm not sure if it was the constant rattling and splashing of my aero bottle (mental note: get that fixed before race day) or the horrific chip sealing on some of the roads, but I could not relax on this ride. I should've just turned the bike computer off because it was acting up on me. Luckily, I was also wearing my Garmin and I was focusing too much on tempo and pacing instead of just riding. Grrr....I hate that. Some of the roads are really bad. As the race director pointed out in an email this week, the roads are cracking all over the place because it's been such a dry summer. It's going to be an interesting ride. At one point, I just let out the biggest high-pitched scream because it was bugging me so much...that and the damn water bottle rattling. I feel sorry for people who are coming out here to discover the beauty of Austin because this course doesn't provide much. There are some really nice picturesque country roads, but I also saw a lot of trash on the side of the roads too. I'm talking couches, old tires, and other furniture. This is NOT a good representation of Austin. Fortunately, the race expo and all other race events are taking place downtown, which provides a much better picture of this wonderful city. Plus, the field is stacked with some great pros who are coming into town including Simon Lessing, Tim DeBoom, Michellie Jones, Lisa Bentley and others.

I was a little light on my nutrition and was definitely feeling the bonk coming on towards the end of the ride, which culminates with the infamous "bitch" and bastard" hills near Decker. With all that being said, I averaged 18.4 miles per hour and never felt like I was pushing it too hard. There were a couple of hard efforts, but my goal was to remain comfortable. Physically, I was comfortable, but mentally, I was irritated and restless. I think the adrenaline and other athletes will help with the mental issues on Sunday. It's just plain hard to ride by yourself for that long. ugh... That average is faster than I rode the course in last year's race, so I'll be happy with that pace on race day. I was tired, but my legs felt fresh for my two-mile brick run off the bike. Last year, I distinctly remember feeling trashed when I got off the bike. Not so at all yesterday. I just have to focus on getting the calories in my body on the bike. (I still had half bottle of perpetuum when I finished yesterday--oops)

Another good thing is that the weather is supposed to be MUCH better than last year's death march. Still, though, the water temp is in the mid-80s so I'm pretty sure wetsuits will be out. Yesterday's ride was a much-needed cycling confidence booster as I've been slacking off a bit on that discipline in favor of more running. Turns out, the rest may have done me some good. Isn't that always the case?!

Here's to my last triathlon of the season! Hard to believe it started with an IRONMAN way back in April. It's been a good year and the Longhorn will celebrate some of those accomplishments.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oh No...Not You

I got to be the "Oh No...Not You" person today!!

Huh?? What does that mean, you ask?

Well, in the last two miles of the run today I came up behind Craig from Gazelles and all he said was, "Oh No...Not You."

Well, I was used to hearing that from the boys in my single days. Back then, it wasn't fun to hear. Believe me. 

Today, I just giggled because it meant that I had caught him in a run and he wasn't thrilled about it ;-)

As I was finishing my last quarter mile, I heard some footsteps behind me and just assumed it was Craig catching up. The voices from behind said, "You're not going to let us pass you." It was Paul Pugh and Steve Fletcher from Gazelles. Actually, Paul and Fletcher ARE gazelles. They are stupidly fast runners. It was very flattering when Paul actually said, "We've been chasing you for the last 2 miles."  Well damn...I couldn't let them beat me at the end so the three of us picked up the pace to about a 6:15 for the last 1/4 mile and finished together! I soooo wish I had a picture of me hitting the end of a run with those two guys. By virtue of association, I would be qualified to exist in the bad-ass category.

For now, though, I'm happy to be in the  "Oh No, Not You" category.

Splits from the Run Today:

Mile 1: 9:30
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3: 8:37
Mile 4: 8:30
Mile 5: 8:13
Mile 6: 8:13
Mile 7: 8:05
Mile 8: 8:25
Mile 9: 8:14
Mile 10: 7:41
Mile 11: 7:28
Mile 12: 7:29
Mile 13: 7:08
Last part (running with the speedy boys): .36 mile at 6:18 average

Overall average: 8:08 per mile
13.36 miles

We also did some 800s this week on the track and I held my own amongst the fast dudes:

One month to the Marine Corps Marathon!! I am psyched and ready to go!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Austin Burning

What is going on in this picture??

A. The Texas Governor's Mansion is on fire AGAIN?

B. One of the new vacant hi-rise condo buildings in downtown Austin exploded?

C. Whole Foods Market has a glow of more profit? (or is it just a natural glow from all of the vitamins and supplements?)

D. The UT Campus is taking that whole "burnt orange" thing to another level?

E. All of the hippies in town for the Austin City Limits Music Festival are blazing the world's largest joint?

F. Carrie took a horribly dangerous photo of a soul-stirring sunrise while driving north on the Mopac Bridge in traffic?

For all of the glory that is the iPhone, this pic doesn't even come close to conveying what was the most glorious sunrise today over Austin. I was on my way home from the pool and wanted to stop, get out of the car, and just stare.

Over the last few weeks, I've been struggling with gratitude. That, in and of itself, is frustrating because if we're not functioning from an "attitude of gratitude," then we are nothing but shameful complainers. I've found so many things to mindlessly bitch about lately: my job is way too busy and petty, I'm eating and drinking too much, my training is mediocre, our economy sucks, my relatives are ill, my good buddy passed away, and did I mention I hate my job these days?? I've felt a tightness and anxiety in my chest because I've been so...ummmm...uptight lately. Even when when I rationally know I'm being irrational, I still can't help it. Weird... And it's not PMS (not this week, at least).

And then I saw THAT sunrise today. It was like a bolt of electricty ran through my body and I instantly felt at peace with everything. My difficult situations are still there, but I feel like I at least have control of them instead of my recent "out of control" and "I'll never catch up" feelings.

...and for that...I'm VERY GRATEFUL.

(and happy that I didn't run my car off the bridge while taking this pic)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stick a Fork in Me...

A couple of weeks ago, I scheduled to have my bike dropped off at Jack and Adams this afternoon for a pre-Longhorn 70.3 tune-up. Matt at the shop told me that I wouldn't get it back until this Wednesday because they're closed on Tuesdays. He asked if that would be o.k. with me or would I need it before then.

What my mind was thinking: 
"Hmmmm....I usually go to the T3 indoor cycling class on Tuesday evenings, so maybe I should wait and drop it off later in the week...I've been slacking on the biking lately and need the workout." 

What I said instead:
"Wednesday is GREAT! I don't need it before then."

Can you tell I'm a little burnt out on cycling???

Yep...I'll be winging the Longhorn 70.3 race on October 5th. Winging a Half-Ironman. 
Now, THAT'S funny.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Still hanging in Southern Cali

Maurice Carrie Winery in Temecula

Champagne tasting at Thorton's Winery

Tailgating before the USC Beatdown (we were still smiling)

I did it!! I swam over 1/2 mile in the shark-infested waters of the Pacific and all limbs are still in tact!

Having lunch at George's on the Cove in La Jolla

Ahhh...another lovely vacation is almost in the books (and three weeks to go before we leave for Kona!) Our reasons for being in Southern California were many and only one of those reasons was disappointing. We originally booked this trip a while ago to see the Ohio State Buckeyes play USC.  Well, we all know how that turned out and it wasn't pretty for my Buckeyes.

In the midst of all of this, my sister-in-law became very ill and we were able to spend some wonderful quality time as she recovered in the hospital. It truly was a blessing to see her amazing personality emerge through all of her pain, frustration and turmoil. It was also great getting to see my mother and father-in-law, who were also here during our stay.

Throughout the week, we were able to make some amazing day trips in and around the So Cal area...Hikes around Torrey Pines State Park, Massages at the Torrey Pines Lodge Spa, two days in La Jolla, lunch at the Del Coronado hotel, naps in Balboa Park in San Diego, ocean swims, beach runs, etc.

Yesterday, we even got a 21 mile run in here in Lake Forest. It was my best training run to date! Here are my splits--not including water stops:
Mile 1: 9:53
Mile 2: 9:02
Mile 3: 8:55
Mile 4: 8:47
Mile 5: 8:58
Mile 6: 9:01
Mile 7: 8:23
Mile 8: 8:16
Mile 9: 8:19
Mile 10: 8:22
Mile 11: 8:12
Mile 12: 8:38
Mile 13: 8:21
Mile 14: 8:06
Mile 15: 8:21
Mile 16: 7:41
Mile 17: 7:25
Mile 18: 7:07
Mile 19: 7:12
Mile 20: 7:20
Mile 21: 7:14

I've been working hard on that "fast finish" and it seems to be paying off. Nothing feels better than a solid negative split!

It's going to be a busy month with the Longhorn Half Ironman in less than 3 weeks, a trip to Hawaii and then the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Version of "The Hills"

Wow...I actually went to a gym in Orange County, CA this morning that has valet parking. Seriously...valet parking at the gym??
What is wrong with these people?

I'm sure they thought something was wrong with me as I pulled up in my rental Ford Mustang and snapped a picture of the fancy cars parked out front....Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari...  I'm guessing these are people who don't sweat a whole lot. 

Well, they were in for a real treat when the Clampetts (oops, I mean the Barretts) from Austin, Texas walked in with their swim gear and a free one-week pass!  Yee-haw, baby!! The LA Sports Club will never be the same after we leave. I think I should pee in the pool just to leave my mark, ya think?

Gotta love L.A.

It's actually been quite the weekend. What a tremendous blessing it has been getting to visit with and talk to my sister-in-law who is still in the hospital. Her positive spirit and energy permeate all of us who continue to pray for her recovery.  Thanks to all of the well-wishes and comments. She is honored to have so many strangers sending some positive energy in her direction.

I only wish my Buckeyes could've gotten some of that positive energy this past weekend against USC. Holy Moly!!! What an embarrassment. You know what?! It was still a wonderful time and a great atmosphere. The USC fans were first-class. (except for the slutty chick doing a keg stand on campus before the game).

The rest of our week will be laced with more hospital visits and day trips to some amazing parts of Southern California including La Jolla, San Diego and the Temecula Wine Region (shocking, I know)...We hope to rent some roadies for the day to get our long ride in and we both have to squeeze in a 20+ miler somewhere along the way.  It's going to be a great week!!

Oh by the way--if you're on Facebook, come be my friend! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Keep Fighting!

...And the damn thing just kept beeping all night long!
I'm not sure if this is a testament to laziness or utter exhaustion, but our smoke detector battery is running low and it decided to inform us of this unfortunate fact at 3:00a.m. this morning. You know what I'm talking about. That single solitary "beep" that sounds every minute or so. At that time of night, you're just not even sure if it's a real fire or someone's pulse. Just a single "beep" spaced just long enough apart to annoy you all night long.

Pathetically, neither Shawn or I got up to do anything about it. Even our boys (Brutus and Woody) were like, "Mom and Dad, do something! I can't sleep and I'm a freakin' cat!! We can sleep over anything and this is bugging the crap out of me!" I just put my head under the pillow and attempted to keep sleeping--even if it was in 1 minute increments.
The days are just so crazy right now. I've got 3 press releases to write, a radio campaign starting, several print deadlines, invoicing and packing to take care of so that I can leave tomorrow for California. We're heading out there to go to the Ohio State vs. USC football game. Those of you that are college football fans know this game is BIG. You also know that Ohio State doesn't have much of a chance. Still, though, we're heading out there in our scarlet and gray with the thousands of other obnoxious Buckeye fans! At the end of the day, it's just a stupid game right?! Even if it does take a miracle for my team to win!

Speaking of miracles, another reason we're heading out to California for a week is to visit Shawn's brother and our sis-in-law. She is currently in a tough and courageous battle with cancer and we're fortunate enough to be heading out there to spend time with both of them (and Shawn's parents). I haven't written much about it because, frankly, it's been too overwhelming to do so and the last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions. After all, you signed up to read a funny triathlon blog, right?!? Please keep this amazing and beautiful woman in your thoughts and prayers. She is the toughest person I know and continues to fight every day. She's a beautiful example of gratitude and positive energy--even when things aren't going your way.

One of my favorite pictures of my sis-in-law taken at our wedding. She looked better than the bride...Damn her :-)

Somehow, I've been keeping up with my regularly scheduled workouts including a run and corture on Monday, Swim/Spin double on Tuesday and 1000m Track workout this morning. There's something about that schedule that brings sanity when things seem insane.

I guess whether you're an underdog in a college football game, in an upcoming triathlon or even an underdog in a battle against cancer, you just can't quit fighting. You never know what little miracles are waiting around the corner.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

21 Mile Run and T3 Practiceman

So much thanks goes out to those crazy T3 Coaches who had the hair-brained idea of staging "Practice Man," a dress rehearsal of the upcoming Longhorn Ironman 70.3.  Of course, the training was followed by a huge Team Picnic out at Decker Lake, giving all of us the chance to catch up with our pals, meet new nutty tri geeks and eat Blythe's Bailey and Cream Cupcakes (and cookies, and salsa, and bison burgers and chips and fruit and...and...and...) 

I didn't wear a watch for my 3-Loop swim, but I felt decent for 90% of it and that's all that matters to me. After the swim, we very leisurely (why can't all races be this chill?!) headed to our bikes and rode the entire 56-mile course on picture-perfect cycling day....cloud cover for most of the ride and very little wind.

Unfortunately for a lot of us, several unmarked turns led to 60-65 mile rides, but it's all in a days' work, right? It only made the T3 Cookie Cake taste that much better upon arrival back into the park. Despite the 75 or so people, I was by myself for a majority of the ride, except for a wonderful stretch where I hung on with Betty and David.  At the 20 mile mark (near the invisible Monkey Road)--yes, MONKEY ROAD, my speedometer was at 17mph. I finished the ride at 17.7mph avg and felt great.  Well...as great as someone could feel having run 21 miles the day before. So much left in the gas tank! Did I go for a short run afterward?? Hell no! But I did hop in my car and start riding the course backwards to make sure people still out there were doing o.k. and had plenty to drink. Both Shawn and Richard were out there riding the course for the first time, so I wanted to make sure they weren't completely lost and out of fluids. I found them with a pack of people about 5 miles out so I headed back to the park and threw my bison burgers at Chef Logan for some grillin' action!

Thanks T3 for another shot at success (and utter gluttony)!

Jerry is flanked by Cindy and a new T3er whose name I should remember, but don't
Lisa, Vegas and Tom working hard in T4 (drinking and eating transition)

Coach Mo wondering who the hell is going to help clean up!

Paul and Travis...LSU alums and T3 friends (despite the fact that LSU spanked the Buckeyes)

Put it this way...the dude in the background is NOT fishing

David and Coach Logan-where are the single ladies?!? 

Short Order Grill Cook Logan 

Betty and Erin still smilin' as always! (it helps when the workout is over and beer is in hand)

Team Barrett playing the part of "triathletes"

Friday, September 05, 2008

Who's Hotter Than Governor Palin Right Now?? TriGreyhound is apparently!!

What do Austin, Houston, Seattle and Kansas City all have in common? They all have crazy triathletes that also like to blog about it! This picture is a gem taken last night when TriGreyhound found himself surrounded by the tri-blog hotness of (from l to r) Tri to Be Funny, and brand new Austinites Crazy Jane, Coach Tammy and Little Miss Runner Pants!!

Carrie (that's just my tank top roll and not my belly!--or is it?!?), Jane and AJ were stinkin' up the place having just come from T3 Spin. Coach Tammy just moved to Austin and she and Greyhound were looking and smelling quite dapper.

Apparently, Greyhound is Tri-blogger royalty. He requests our presence and gets it like that! (Of course, he also picked up the bar tab, which always helps.)

Six months ago, we didn't know each other and now the ladies all live in Austin and train together! What a wonderful and supportive community we have created...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Little Bit of Everything and Nothing...

The above pretty much describes the last couple of days of my training (and present emotional capacity).

First and foremost, the Nike Human Race 10k was a blast and I'm glad that I decided to run it at the last moment. By now, the world knows that Lance Armstrong, Matthew McConaughey and Olympic Medal Swimmers Brendan Hanson and Aaron Piersol all made yummy appearances. Of course, Lance is in yellow and Matthew is in the brown bandana behind him and to the left.

We didn't make national headlines, but Austin hotties "Skud and Sapp" also strutted our stuff across the finish line with a smile on our faces. No PRs were set, but a good time was had by all. The goal of this race was to have millions of people across the world running at the same time. Pretty cool concept, but 6:30pm on an August night in Texas is probably the WORST time to stage a 10k for 15,000 people! Put it this way, the famous dudes mentioned above weren't the only "hot" ones. Instead of collective cheers, I think I heard collective wheezing as people were attempting to chug up the hills. Not a pretty sight...

On Monday morning, I had the distinct pleasure of being a bike course volunteer at the Austin Olympic Triathlon. I wish I would've snapped a picture of my sexy self wearing the reflective safety vest and pointing my light saber in the direction of the upcoming sharp right hand turn. I thought I might have some regrets about not signing up, but it didn't happen. No regrets at all! In fact, it was fun walking up to the transition area with ZERO nerves...While the athletes were finishing their last minute bagel and gatorade consumption, I was sipping on coffee and a breakfast taco awaiting the course leaders to come screaming by. Congrats to all who finished this race under some hot conditions! I had a blast cheering for you both personally and anonymously. As usual, the T3ers had a great showing!

The above image pretty much describes my T3 Swim Workout on Tuesday morning. I decided to try to play with the "big kids" and had my butt handed to me by speedsters Erin, Jess and Laurie. I'm still playing and experimenting with my stroke a lot and have trouble going from 80%-85%-90%. My 90% effort is their 80% effort so while I was able to hang on for the first couple of sets, I couldn't last as their efforts and speed grew. You know what? It's all good. In order to continue to get faster, I have to swim faster...that's all there is to it. If that means being "the slow one" in the pool then so be it. I still completed the 3200m workout even if I did have to wear paddles for the last set in order to keep up! I'm still averaging about 15 seconds faster per 100 than last year.

So while I may have sucked gas at swim yesterday, I hauled ass in Spin Class last night and in this morning's 10 mile pace run. Being off the bike for a week helped me mentally and physically. Coach Pain had us spinning like maniacs last night and it actually felt damn good (except for the part when I thought Little Miss Runner Pants was going to puke on me)!

I wasn't sure what to expect with my 10 mile pace run this morning, but I couldn't be happier with the execution. Amy and I decided to do this by ourselves today since we missed Monday's workout because of the triathlon. In regular fashion, our first 2 miles were pure warm-up (20:28). Over the last 8 miles, our goal was to average 7:40s or better overall. Amy was having a "do we have to?!" whiny moment, but I promptly shut it down with my "no excuses" pep talk (which I'm sure sounded more like a condescending lecture than a pep talk). In any event, we set off:

Mile 1: 8:07

Mile 2: 8:05 (slight panic that we were running too slow when it felt really fast)

Mile 3: 7:31

Mile 4: 7:15

Mile 5: 7:21

Mile 6: 7:28

Mile 7: 7:21

Mile 8: 7:07

Overall: 1:00:19

7:31 pace for 8 miles (and 66ft!)

That's what I'm talking about people! This is my 3rd marathon pace run and my fastest yet. Instead of feeling completely spent at the end, I still had some gas in the tank. A lot of it had to do with starting off at an easier pace and easing into the pace instead of trying to hit it immediately and hang on for dear life. I am just LOVING the run right now!!

Now--if I could just translate that into my swim stroke...