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, November 26, 2008

Fun at Ironman Arizona 2008


I had so much fun cheering on some friends at Ironman Arizona last weekend. Can I say that volunteering, cheering and spectating at an Ironman is so much more fun than actually DOING an Ironman?!?!

1.) You can drink...ALCOHOL

2.) You can nap in the middle of the day while everyone else in on their bikes

3.) You can leave the race site, eat lunch, take a shower, come back and STILL wait 3 hours for people to finish

4.) You can gawk and take photos of people's $10,000 bicycles

5.) You can volunteer and make everyone's else day so much better

6.) You can have salt in your nutrition, but it comes in the form of chips and salsa

7.) You can lay down in the grass and no one thinks you're bonking or dehydrated

8.) You don't have to worry about GU

The Texas Ironman Waterstop! Yee-Freakin' Haw!!

Greeting Jess after her Kick-Ass 12:18 Ironman debut!!

After 12 hours, she still has a million dollar grin!

Rhonda, Me, Catharine and Alisa with Iron-Michelle (the tan one) after her amazing 12:52 race...a 50 min PR!

Just a few of the T3 athletes and cheering squad in Tempe!

Catharine made the most amazing signs for our teammates.
The rest of us made vodka diet cokes. We helped Catharine put the signs on the course.
She helped us drink the Stoli.

Good Christian Girls

Who Am I Kidding?! While it was so rewarding to cheer this weekend, there really is no substitute for this!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Does the "Hydro-Bike" count as a brick workout?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank You, Thank You!

Just a quick note of thanks for all of your wonderful and loving comments!  I've shared them with my brother-in-law and he is definitely comforted by your thoughts. Her Memorial Service was yesterday and there were plenty of "Steel Magnolias" moments where I laughed and cried at the same time. 

We're in CA now, but still looking forward to hitting Tempe this weekend for Ironman Arizona! Perhaps it will inspire me to get off my tush again :-) 

Went to Pilates class with Katy last week and had a blast. I'm pretty sure pilates class is another word for, "your core is as squishy as a sponge." Katy and I giggled our way through due to our embarrassing  lack of flexibility. Seriously, I'm going to continue to incorporate pilates and core into my routines. I've yet to see an overweight pilates expert!!

One of these days I'll catch up on my blog reading :-) 

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Last Hour

“Ladies and Gentleman, we are now into the 15th hour of the Ironman World Championships here in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii!”

Those were fragments of Mike Reilly’s voice I was hearing from our rental car. Shawn and I were awaking from a nap in Kona. Funny, really…We were napping while 1,800 other athletes were participating in the race of a lifetime. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? Instead of losing our coveted parking spot, we decided to sleep in the car for a couple of hours so that we would be awake, alert and ready to cheer those final competitors across the finish line until the bitter end. We wanted to be at the finish line for the last hour of the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Hour 16 to Hour 17…the moment of truth for so many…coming in under the wire with mere minutes or seconds to spare.

“You Are An Ironman!” was heard over and over again as I drifted in and out of sleep throughout the evening. Only, I was hearing his voice for real. Reilly really was calling out people’s names for hours on end—and never, not once, sounding weary of shouting one of the most life-changing cheers in all of sports. “You are an Ironman.”

We shuffled over to the finish line where we found a perfect spot right by the chute. A step up on a curb gave us an even better view of the “promised land.” The atmosphere was electric. Yes-it was now 11pm and we were still a little nap-dazed, but the crowd was huge and the loud music and video screens only added to the excitement. How can you not get pumped up when AC/DC is blaring over the loud speakers?! By this time, the winners Chrissie Wellington and Craig Alexander had both finished, showered, eaten, napped and were now at their places at the finish line to greet those who were coming across. How lucky for these “last hour” finishers to get to hi-five and hug the official champions! Kind of makes you wonder who the real champions are… Is it the guy who can finish in 8 ½ hours or the 70 year old who crosses the line in 16 ½?

The last hour of Ironman illustrated compassion, exhilarance, determination, love, support, perseverance, and faith. These competitors fought the toughest conditions, tested their physical and emotional limits, and still managed that final sprint across the finish line to now hear the ENTIRE crowd now yelling, “You are an Ironman!” The last hour didn’t discriminate. It saw the oldest finisher, a 78-year-old male, and the youngest finisher, an 18-year-old female. Both were equally inspiring. How did either of them do it? I was forever changed by that last hour and consider myself honored to have been a part of the celebration for those who conquered the achievement.

Yes, it’s true that completing an Ironman and fighting the fight up until that last hour really is a metaphor for living.

Today, my sister-in-law WON her fight against cancer and is now in the arms of the Spirit. She crossed the finish line a brave and battered soldier…exhausted and yet, complete. The last few months have been full of desperate moments followed by miraculous moments. Through it all, she continued her life’s journey when it didn’t seem possible…When the clock was against her, she kept pushing. She continued the race, even though her 140.6 miles lasted months and years at a time and were much more difficult than a few measly miles on the road. A flat tire or two set her back, but she always found the right tools and the right doctors to help her carry on through the race. Her husband and family provided her with her spiritual nutrition mile after mile. Truth be told, her attitude provided the family with much needed nutrition as well. We often forget that the spectators are more exhausted than the athlete sometimes. Like most people who have ever done an Ironman distance race, you know you can plan all you want to, but the race itself is unpredictable. Such is life…no matter how much we plan, who can predict these turns of events? You simply have to adapt your plan to live for the moment and not necessarily for the end result. Often enough, the end result isn’t what we plan anyways.

Her last hours were much like those of the Ironman athletes in Hour 16: she was surrounded by compassion, support, unwavering faith and deep, deep love. Her last hours were brave as she fought hard through the most difficult conditions. Fear gave way to peace when she realized that the race was almost complete. And now, as she crosses the finish line, I can stand with the multitudes of angels and loved ones when I say, “Monica Barrett, You are an Ironman.”

Friday, November 07, 2008

Oval Sticker Overkill!

Triathletes, Runners and Multi-Sport fanatics are anything but humble. Gosh darn it, we're proud of our achievements and we want to brag, brag, brag. Unfortunately, we're also rather smug with the multitude of oval sticker displays.
Take for instance--MY CAR (Yes, I have a toaster and LOVE IT)

Let's start with the Top:

T3: "I'm with the best triathlon team in Austin. Sorry you're not. Maybe next season...If you can catch us."

GZL: "No, it's not guzzle, contrary to what my college drinking years might imply. It means Gazelle. And if you don't know what that is in Austin, then you're clearly not a runner."

140.6: "That, my lowly 5k running friend, is the distance of an Ironman. My car might not get that good of gas mileage, but my body can. Only the best of the best can achieve this, so think twice about being a part of this elite group. Once you enter, you will never leave."

(The funny thing is that I covered up a 26.2 Boston sticker with the 140.6. How arrogant is that?! Is running freaking Boston no longer good enough for me?!? Wow...)

And my new current favorite (that will NOT make it on the car...but maybe the Vespa)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Swim Torture

I woke up this morning with the worst cramps since high school!

Felt like I weighed 300 freakin' pounds.

The thought of being in a bathing suit next to Dr. Laurie and Michelle?--downright unfathomable.

Today was Indoor Swim Torture Day with my Swimervals DVD!
"The Beauty of Swimming When You Just Can't Bear the Thought of It!"

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Little of This and a Little of That

Thanks, everyone, for your comments, messages and phone calls of congratulations to both of us since the Marine Corps Marathon. We're still coming down from that trip both physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I basically took all of last week off from early morning workouts and slept in until the sun came up (which was after 7:00am until the time change over the weekend!) It felt wonderful to wake up naturally with nowhere in particular to go and no fitness goal to achieve. Some mornings I just stretched, or went for a walk. Other mornings, I read and finally started to catch up on my blog reading.

On Saturday, I ran (or attempted to) for the first time with Thon, Richard and Amy. What a beautiful morning it was and what a blast it was to meander along the streets of Lake Austin Blvd, Scenic and Pecos with nothing but laughter, politics, and conversation (and about a 12 minute pace). The weather in Austin this time of year is absolutely spectacular...Cool sunny mornings that turn into the mid-80s by days end. It certainly is the reward for surviving the relentless heat of the summer. 

On Saturday,  Shawn and I spent a day out at Lake Austin Spa and Resort for more pampering and relaxing. Massages, foot massages, pedicures, lunch and an afternoon by the pool with a trashy book. Seriously, a Doctor could not have described better medicine than this. They even have a lap pool, which we took advantage of and swam for about 30 minutes. Nothing fancy, just some nice slow laps.  

Sunday was the day of accomplishments--doing all of those tasks we've been ignoring for the last month...organizing files, paying bills, laundry, selling crap (I mean really useful items) on Craig's List, major grocery run, cleaning the house, Goodwill run, researching some stuff on our never-ending "we need to Google that" list, and even finding time for a 6-mile jog followed by a 2 mile walk. Nice... That extra hour sure made a difference, even with the early sunset. 

I also booked a flight to Phoenix for the weekend of IRONMAN ARIZONA!!! That's right, I'm so excited to go back to the scene of my season opener and cheer on my fellow T3ers (and the 1800 others) who are going to literally smash that course to pieces! I tried to sign up to volunteer, but even that is closed. I will, however, be cheering like nobody's business for these extraordinary athletes. I'm always so inspired by the heart and will to accomplish an Ironman. There is no substitute for the work and the final payoff.

Finally, my last race of the year looks to be the Sunmart 50K Trail Race in Huntsville, Texas on December 9th. I did this Ultra last year and had a phenomenal time. Literally and figuratively. I ended up (rather surprisingly) finishing 8th overall female and 2nd in my age group. Seriously, I was just going out to run 32 miles. Never underestimate the power of starting slow...It certainly paid major dividends that day. We'll see how it goes this year. Again, it's a little bonding day with Amy and a few other T3ers who were so easily talked into doing an ultra-marathon...cuz 26.2 just isn't long enough.

Time to start easing into some cross training workouts again...I actually went to a spin class this morning at the gym. An actual spin class on a spin bike. Weird, but a good change of pace...I must admit, I was strange not hearing Coach Pain shout out some impossible cadence. Oh well...that will come later this week. I finally took the Longhorn 70.3 race number off my bike. Yep, it's been a month since I've been on it. Time to hop back in the saddle. 

Ironman CDA training is right around the corner after the holidays. Until then, I do what my heart and body tell me...not what the schedule dictates.